Economy, Sci & Tech

German Automakers Heighten Tech Cooperation

German carmakers are pushing ahead with their autonomous driving technology plans.German carmakers are pushing ahead with their autonomous driving technology plans.

German carmakers Audi, BMW and Daimler on September 27 launched an alliance with mobile telecoms network equipment firms Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm to accelerate the development of infrastructure needed for self-driving cars.

The pact is another example of Germany’s premium carmakers collaborating to build technology expertise necessary to take on rivals like Uber and Google that are also working on autonomous driving technology, Reuters reported on September 28.

The new alliance, branded the 5G Automotive Association, will “develop, test and promote communications solutions, support standardization and accelerate commercial availability and global market penetration”, the founders said in a statement.

One of the aims of 5G, the technology standards for the next generation of much faster and more reliable mobile telecoms networks, is to enable a wide variety of devices to link up and operate via the Internet of Things.

Network equipment providers such as Ericsson and Nokia have said the 5G technology currently in development could be available for use as early as next year, but mass-market upgrades to mobile networks are not expected until 2020.

A spokesman for the newly formed partnership said talks have been held with several network operators to join the association, declining to give any names.

Last year, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen’s Audi joined forces to buy digital map maker HERE for $3.15 billion from Nokia and this week will introduce a service that allows drivers to see road conditions miles ahead using live data contributed by other vehicles.