Audi and Ericsson have announced plans to pioneer the use of 5G technology for automotive production. 5G is the next-generation of mobile communications, which will extend the performance of today’s mobile networks to serve the future needs of consumers and industries.

At Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, Audi and Ericsson agreed on a range of activities exploring the potential of 5G as a future-proof communication technology that can meet the high demands of automotive production. The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and in the coming months, experts from both companies will run field tests in a technical centre of the ‘Audi Production Lab’ in Gaimersheim, Germany.

The planned infrastructure at Gaimersheim will include the implementation of 5G technologies in a simulated production environment that mirrors those of Audi’s plant 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.

In the first phase of the project, Audi and Ericsson will test a latencycritical application using wirelessly connected production robots that are equipped with a gluing application – a commonly used technique in auto body construction.

Frank Loydl, Chief Information Officer at Audi AG, says: “The fully networked factory will have a significant impact on the production of the future. A powerful network architecture that can respond in real time is of decisive importance for us. As part of the project with our partner Ericsson, we are testing the opportunities offered by 5G technology for industrial applications in the smart factory.”

Erik Ekudden, Group CTO at Ericsson, adds: “Ericsson is already running 5G industry programs all over the world to help manufacturers boost productivity and create new business opportunities. This project is a great opportunity to see what is possible when we bring 5G into an automobile production environment to truly enable smart wireless manufacturing.”