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ANALYSIS: Recently agreed collaborations between car manufacturers and telecoms providers can help manufacturers overcome complex telecoms issues they face in developing new connected cars
Connected and autonomous vehicles of the future will rely on strong and stable telecoms networks to allow data to flow between in-car systems and other networks and devices, such as smartphones.
In building those vehicles, manufacturers therefore must understand how telecoms regulations might apply to them, and manage relationships with telecoms providers. The past year has seen some significant developments in the industry in this respect.
Collaboration and partnerships
Both manufacturers and telecoms service providers are busy developing a wide range of products, from entertainment to navigation systems, many of which are already available and which present significant opportunities to develop new revenue streams. The efforts reflect the fact that a wide range of new technology is needed to enable new services for the connected car services.
While manufacturers are conducting their own research and development programmes, there is an acknowledgement that, to access the technology they need, they also need to work with many new suppliers from sectors they have not traditionally worked with before. The most significant of the new relationships car manufacturers are likely to have is with telecoms providers.
Industry has recognised the importance of such collaboration. In September last year, two new industry bodies were set up to bring together expertise from across the automotive and telecoms sectors and focus on issues relevant to the development of connected cars.
The 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) and the European Automotive and Telecom Alliance (EATA) signed a memorandum of understanding, reflecting their commitment to collaboration on issues such as automated driving, road safety and traffic efficiency; and the digitalisation of transport and logistics.
Major car brands such as Audi, BMW, Renault and Jaguar Land Rover, and automotive suppliers, together with telecoms companies such as Ericsson, Nokia, Vodafone and Orange, are among the businesses participating in the partnership.
The tie-up may be the beginning of a more consistent approach to telecoms in the connected car space. Up until now, many businesses looking to enjoy a future in the connected cars market have bolstered their own expertise and offerings either by acquiring other businesses in the market, or by entering into individual collaborations.
For example, Intel has announced a $15.3 billion deal to buy Israeli technology business Mobileye, which develops technology that helps advanced driver assistance systems to 'see', while last November Samsung Electronics announced that it had agreed to buy in-vehicle technology supplier Harman International Industries in an $8bn deal. Orange, Ericsson and PSA Group along with Qualcomm, have also worked together to carry out connected-vehicle field trials in France using 5G technology.