Audi is the latest automaker to announce plans to introduce ultra-fast 5G connectivity in its cars.
The brand with the four rings on Wednesday said it will make Verizon's premier 5G Ultra Wideband network available starting with 2024 model year vehicles in the U.S. market. Only select models will be included initially, with Audi to confirm them closer to the on-sale date, currently expected to be sometime in 2023.
General Motors has also announced plans to make 5G connectivity available in some of its models, also starting with the 2024 model year. GM will rely on AT&T for the network.
The extra pace of 5G over existing networks, like popular 4G LTE, will enable a new range of features and services available in cars, including augmented reality in combination with highly detailed maps, as well as some self-driving capability. There will also be lightning fast Wi-Fi, making seamless streaming possible, and automakers will also have more flexibility with beaming out over-the-air updates.
The introduction of 5G connectivity is also expected to usher in a new generation of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. Audi is already a pioneer in this field with its system that communicates with traffic lights in some cities, and the automaker is now working with Verizon to develop much more advanced systems. In its announcement on Wednesday, Audi said it is developing systems that will allow vehicles to respond to other vehicles and infrastructure around them.
Relying on both edge computing and 5G connectivity, Audi vehicles in future will be able to quickly process environment information at a local level, such as potential safety risks, and communicate this to surrounding vehicles and infrastructure. This aspect will be crucial to further development of driver-assist features and even self-driving features, by providing a fuller view of the surrounding environment, beyond what onboard cameras and sensors can observe.