Volvo Cars and leading telecom provider China Unicom are joining forces on using 5G next-generation mobile network technology for communication between cars and infrastructure in China.
The two companies have agreed to work together in researching, developing and testing automotive applications of 5G and emerging vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology.
As the fifth generation of mobile network technology, 5G is many times faster, has a higher data capacity and offers lower response times than its 4G predecessor. As more data can be transferred to and from cars more quickly and with less latency, more applications for cars become possible.
Volvo Cars and China Unicom are investigating a range of different applications of 5G technology in the communication between cars and infrastructure in China, identifying potential improvements in areas such as safety, sustainability, customer convenience and autonomous driving.
For example, when a car is aware of upcoming traffic issues such as road works, congestion or accidents, it can take pre-emptive action such as slowing down or suggesting a different route. This can help boost traffic safety for people inside the car, while avoiding start-and-stop traffic improves efficient energy use.
Other examples include the possibility for cars to find empty parking spaces easier with the help of traffic cameras. Cars may also communicate with traffic lights in order to establish an optimal speed and create a so-called ‘green wave’, and with each other to optimise safe exits and entries from and onto highways.
“Volvo has been a leader in realising the potential of connecting our cars to enable new features and services such as detecting and sharing locations of slippery roads between vehicles,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “With 5G, the network performance is improving to allow for many more real-time critical services that can help the driver be safer and get a smoother and more enjoyable ride. We look forward to collaborating with China Unicom on developing those services for the Chinese market.”
Mr. Liang Baojun, Vice President of China Unicom Group, said: “As an innovation leader in the 5G area, China Unicom is committed to create new information infrastructure and solutions in the area of intelligent internet connection with the best experience to the users. 5G will fully enable the development of automatic driving, improve the safety of driving and bring a new experience by building a collaborative service system of ‘people, vehicles, roadway, network and cloud’. It is believed that China Unicom and Volvo Cars will sincerely cooperate with each other, jointly develop a business deployment route under China’s national conditions, which is believed to become an industry model in China.”
China is currently rolling out 5G across major cities in the nation with the support of China Unicom and others. Like most regions, China is also widely expected to implement its own regional standards for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies.
Volvo Cars’ collaboration with China Unicom helps it to be suitably prepared for local requirements and create a strong presence in V2X in its biggest market. Volvo Cars plans to introduce 5G connectivity as part of the next generation of Volvos, based on the next-generation SPA2 modular vehicle architecture.
Volvo Car Group in 2018
For the 2018 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 14,185 MSEK (14,061 MSEK in 2017). Revenue over the period amounted to 252,653 MSEK (208,646 MSEK). For the full year 2018, global sales reached a record 642,253 (571,577) cars, an increase of 12.4 per cent versus 2017. The results underline the comprehensive transformation of Volvo Cars’ finances and operations in recent years, positioning the company for its next growth phase.
About Volvo Car Group
Volvo Cars was founded in 1927. Today, it is one of the most well-known and respected premium car brands in the world, with sales of 642,253 cars in 2018 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding of China since 2010.
In 2018, Volvo Cars employed on average approximately 43,000 (39,500) full-time employees. Volvo Cars’ head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars’ head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), South Carolina (US), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China), and body components in Olofström (Sweden).
Under its new company purpose, Volvo Cars aims to provide customers with the Freedom to Move in a personal, sustainable and safe way. This purpose is reflected into a number of business ambitions: by the middle of the decade, it aims for half of its global sales to be fully electric cars and to offer half of all cars to customers via its subscription service. By then, it also expects one-third of its cars sold to be autonomous.