Audi is planning to team up with leading networking telecommunications company Ericsson to use 5G technology for automotive production. The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany to collaborate on a wide range of activities to explore the potential of 5G for use in as a communication technology in automotive production.
In the near future, experts drawn from both companies will conduct several field tests in a technical center at the Audi Production Lab in Gaimersheim, Germany.
Commenting on the development, Frank Loydl, Chief Information Officer at Audi AG, said that the fully networked factory can have a significant impact on future production as Audi can use a powerful network architecture to respond in real time. Audi will work with Ericsson on the potential 5G technology can offer for industrial applications in the smart factory. They would also collaborate on exploring whether the same technology can be used at other Audi factories.
Erik Ekudden, Group CTO at Ericsson, said that Ericsson is already involved in partnerships with other manufacturers across the world to leverage 5G to boost productivity and create new business opportunities. This collaboration would help explore the potential advantages of using smart wireless manufacturing in an automobile production environment.
5G is the next stage of mobile communications, which can enhance the ability of the mobile networks we use today to cater to the needs of industries and end consumers in the future. 5G networks will have the capability to provide consumers with a faster broadband experience and in the case of businesses, 5G is likely to allow them to use new applications ranging from connected vehicles to smart factories.
5G technology can facilitate networking to a greater extent and can advance the cause of Industry 4.0 with the implementation of more complex but flexible production processes. It facilitates higher network capacities and faster data throughput rates and is more likely to deliver highly secure availability. It will also have ultra-low latency for fast response times between equipment in the factory system.
As part of the first phase of their combined project, Audi and Ericsson will use wirelessly connected production robots which are equipped with a gluing application to test a latency-critical application. This is a technique that is commonly used in auto body construction.
To take the collaboration further, Audi will initially be implementing the 5G technologies in a simulated production environment that replicates the Audi factory in Ingolstadt and other locations. The laboratory will be equipped with Ericsson’s Proof-of-Concept (PoC) network which is an open trial facility to enable early deployments of 5G technology. The network is designed to integrate alternative or complementary technologies to the ones currently in use, including WiFi or wireless LAN, or wired (Ethernet) connectivity of production components.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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