BMW and SK Telecom Test First 5G-Connected Car

SK Telecom 5G BMW Car

It seems as though technology is colliding with all kinds of other industries these days, with our smartphones hailing us rides to where we need to be, our homes getting smarter and more connected every day and of course, wireless services connecting practically everything and anything we own it’s perhaps no surprise that there’s a car out there that’s got a quicker phone signal than you could possibly imagine, at least, for now. That’s because SK Telecom and BMW have just tested the world’s first connected car running on a 5G network. The car has been named T5, and was part of a special test that took place in South Korea to test a certain wave length being considered for mainstream 5G networks in the near future.

At the BMW Driving Center in Yeongjong Island, Incheon, BMW Group Korea and SK Telecom worked together to install test equipment in two T5 cars. Across 240,000 square miles, SK Telecom set up a test network that was capable of 20 Gbps throughput thanks to the impressive use of the 28 Ghz band on mmWave transmissions. This allowed the team to set up 360-degree cameras both inside and outside of the car to take 4K video and stream it seamlessly across the network. Of course, this was all done on a trail network, which no doubt meant that there was little to nothing else going on on the network at the same time, giving this test with BMW all the bandwidth it could handle.

SK Telecom said that the “demonstration of 5G-based connected car technologies marks the very first step towards achieving fully autonomous driving in the upcoming era of 5G” and that with so much data being able to be sent back to a central control unit or something similar, cars would be able to leverage huge amounts of data and Machine Learning, without actually computing it there and then, or even storing it inside the vehicle. German automakers such as BMW will no doubt be paying very close attention to the early days of 5G networks, and with so much data being able to be transferred so quickly, it could be the missing link they need to complete the autonomous vehicle puzzle.