Scania has become the first company to test Ericsson’s new 5G technology components, as part of a collaboration between Scania and Ericsson Research exploring the use of 5G networks in transport communications.
The technology will feature prominently in trials of autonomous driving and connected vehicles. Three state-of-the-art mobile base stations have been installed at Scania’s Research and Development facility and the test network will be continuously updated with new technology as it is being developed.
“The new test network with its 5G components allows for a high quality mobile network service, with low latency and high bandwidth, where a lot of complex data can be transferred very quickly and very reliably, providing us with a ‘priority communications lane’ when it comes to projects such as autonomous driving and platooning,” explained Anders Ställberg, Scania’s Project Manager for City Automation.
Having a ‘priority lane’ has sometimes been an issue in current, crowded pre-5G networks, where users have to jostle for space with those who are streaming films, music or games. 5G will support many more functions than 4G networks, particularly in communication between machines.
The low latency (delay) in 5G connections means the new technology could be used by vehicles transmitting braking or directional information to each other, where speed and reliability are vital. It could also be used to help improve the reliability and speed of the exchange of the information between the two or more vehicles in a truck platoon.
Where previously wifi technology has been used, the 5G technology, with its guaranteed level of latency and bandwidth, could offer an alternative.
The new technology can also play a key role in tests of future autonomous vehicle system, such as self-driving vehicles continuously updating a map for autonomous driving, stored on a central server, for distribution to other vehicles in the system.
“The trials allow Scania to further develop the capabilities underpinning our ongoing projects, while Ericsson fulfils its desire to test its new technology in a working, practical environment,” said Ställberg.
Torbjörn Lundahl, Programme Director for the 5G National Research Programme at Ericsson Research, agrees.
“We want to show other companies how 5G can enable and support the digital transformation of their industry,” said Lundahl. “We hope to gain valuable insights and innovations that will pave the way for further digitalisation, using 5G as an enabler.
“The trials with Scania will help us to understand the requirements to ensure they are met by the 5G standard and products, and deepens our experience with the transportation sector which is a focus industry for Ericsson.”