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As a global technology leader, Ericsson has approached the developing automotive and transport industries with a focus on CASE, which stands for connected, autonomous, shared and electric.

The company recognises that it must stay ahead of a huge transformation, as new megatrends emerge in a newly connected world. 

Claes Herlitz, Head of Connected Vehicles believes that, through its decades of expertise and experience, Ericsson is fully-prepared to continue its unrivalled success in the era of future mobility. 

We believe that Ericsson, as a leading ICT provider, has the technologies and know-how required by automotive and transport industries to be successful during this transformation, including connectivity, cloud computing, and service operations,” he says.

“On top of this, since vehicles will be one of the most important devices using mobile networks, we believe that the requirements from the automotive and transport industries will contribute to the development of future mobile network technologies.” 

Herlitz adds that Ericsson’s main goal is to realise Network Aware Vehicles and Vehicle Aware Networks. And, as 5G continues to grow in popularity and accessibility, the company is ready for the new opportunities opening up in the transport sector. 

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5G Is Here 

5G is, as the number suggests, the fifth generation of wireless communications technologies supporting cellular data networks. It has been tipped to revolutionise the transport industry through the ‘internet of things,’ which has introduced the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-computer interaction.

In what has seemed like a lifetime, we are finally starting to see large scale adoption, with almost every telecommunication service provider preparing its infrastructure to offer 5G functionality.

“Most of the connectivity-related requirements from the automotive and transport industries today can actually be fulfilled by LTE networks. However, 5G will provide significant improvements and will drive the innovations to create new use cases,” explains Herlitz. 

The main benefits for 5G for the automotive and transport industries, he adds, are low latency communications, support a massive number of devices and lower cost per GB.

But what part does it have to play in smart cities/infrastructure?

Well, these urban ecosystems need to thrive through collaboration and openness, which has been difficult to achieve in the past, whether that is the technology itself or the businesses that are protective over their systems. 

“The current infrastructure needs require various industry players to collaborate and various devices to communicate with each other,” adds Herlitz. “Mobile networks will be a key enabler for this.”

And, when it comes to autonomous vehicles, mobile networks and communication between road users will be essential to improve the safety of future transport. 

Everything-to-Everything

The goal is to not only achieve 5G-ready transport but also secure and protect it. Vehicles are now connected to the surrounding world, so it is vital that technology specialists like Ericsson secure 5G networks to protect the communication between the vehicle, network and cloud. 

Herlitz calls this ‘everything-to-everything’ (E2E).

“5G is improving the security of networks, but to protect connected vehicles, E2E security needs to be considered, including inside the vehicle, network, and cloud security,” he says. 

“We are working on E2E security solutions, where Ericsson can provide network and cloud security and our partners provide inside vehicle security.”

So, exciting times ahead for the industry. But when can we expect to see 5G in the sector and what will be the first applications?

Well, Herlitz says that the initial use cases for 5G will be around infotainment and over-the-air updates (OTA), which we will really kick off over the next year or so. 

“We believe these types of services will start within 1-2 years,” he adds. “Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) and safety-related use cases will take more time since it will require 5G networks to have increased coverage. However, via using both 5G and LTE these use cases can be implemented faster.”

With the automotive industry experiencing a huge shift in moving from a product-centric approach to a customer-centric approach, businesses are being forced to alter their approaches and be more open to collaboration, especially in areas such as the telecommunications industry. 

Through this, we could see a colossal impact in the market as many are moving too slow to keep up with the shift, and may not be able to adapt in time.

“During this decade, we believe that most companies will have to adapt – or not survive – and this will increase the speed of new technologies and innovation in the industry,” says Herlitz.

“We believe that this is bringing a lot of challenges, but also a lot of new opportunities.”

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