Automakers Cozy Up to Intel, Qualcomm for 5G Standards


European automakers today joined forces with Qualcomm, Intel, and several mobile phone manufacturers in a bid to define how 5G cellular networks will talk to cars.

The companies created the 5G Automotive Association, whose members include Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm. Noticeably absent are Apple and Google, which have been working on their own versions of autonomous vehicles and in-car communications, like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The 5G association will look primarily outside the vehicle, to "address society's connected mobility and road safety needs with applications such as connected automated driving, ubiquitous access to services and integration into smart cities and intelligent transportation" as Intel put it in a press release.

Faster and more robust networks are the foundation of all those efforts, and the association's members have already been clamoring to define standards for 5G networks, on their own and via other partnerships. But today's announcement appears to offer a roadmap for technological details.

The association will work on defining standards for what's referred to in the connected auto industry as "vehicle-to-everything" communication. It will also address how cars and phones will work together.

"The creation of this association demonstrates the clear need for a cross-sector-collaboration between mobile industry and car industry for joint innovation, and to establish a platform to align on timeline and priorities and solution road maps," Huawei research director Li Yingtao said in a statement.

The association is also unique because it includes Intel and Qualcomm, which until now have mostly been arch rivals in the race to develop 5G standards. Qualcomm, whose modems and other components are already in a vast number of connected devices, is working with manufacturers and telecom operators on testing 5G. At its developers conference in August, Intel said it would begin the bulk of its 5G trials in 2018.

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