Self-driving vehicles powered by self-sustained energy sources seem to be the way of the future; a future that is now envisioned and shared by numerous companies in the automotive and telecommunication industries. As the Internet of Things develops and as companies like Tesla and Google continue pushing the concept of electric-powered autonomous vehicles forward, a new alliance is formed in Germany by three world-renowned car makers together with a handful of big names in the IT and telecom industry.
Today, German car manufacturers Audi, BMW, and Daimler have announced a new partnership with telecom and IT companies Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm, leading to a new alliance called the "5G Automotive Association". As rival companies in the automotive world continue to explore and expand upon the concept of self-driving technologies, the goal of the alliance is to "develop, test and promote communications solutions, support standardization and accelerate commercial availability and global market penetration". As the name implies, one of the goals of the 5G Automotive Association is to accelerate the development of 5G networks; a next generation telecommunication standard nurturing the Internet of Things, and a vital part of the infrastructure required by fully-autonomous vehicles to exist. According to Ericsson and Nokia, 5G technologies that are now in development could become available as early as 2017 in niche market areas, but 5G networks are not expected to spread to the mobile market earlier than the year 2020. Either way, it's interesting to note that according to a 5G Automotive Association spokesperson cited by Reuters, the alliance is discussing with several other network operators who may join the newly formed group at a later date, but their names have not been specified. In any case, 5G network technologies for the mobile market have previously been teased by several other companies and alliances, including Verizon and KT, as well as AT&T and Nokia just to name a few.
It's also worth mentioning that BMW, Audi, and Daimler are expected to launch a new service this week, which will allow drivers to gain information regarding road conditions miles ahead based on live data shared by other drivers. The service is part of the HERE WeGo digital map application for mobile previously owned by Nokia, which was acquired last year by the three aforementioned German car manufacturers for the sum of $3.15 billion.