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Automakers embrace 5G for smart vehicles

By Cheng Yu | China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-28 08:29
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Employees work on the assembly line of automaker Geely Holding Group in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Shi Yu / for China Daily]

Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has announced a major partnership to put its first 5G and C-V2X-enabled vehicles into mass production by 2021, as the country's car industry enters the fast lane of intelligent-connected vehicles with the approach of 5G commercialization.

C-V2X, also known as Cellular Vehicle-To-Everything, is a wireless technology that enables communication among vehicles, people and traffic infrastructure.

Geely's new vehicles will be made in cooperation with US chip giant Qualcomm Inc and Chinese internet of things provider Gosuncn Technology Group Co, the company said at this year's Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday.

"Such cars will be Geely's first vehicle models with Level 3 autonomous technology. Also, our future cars will all be built with 5G and C-V2X," said Shen Ziyu, vice-president of Geely Research Institute.

With the commercialization of superfast 5G just miles away, industry insiders pointed out that intelligent-connected vehicles will stand at the forefront of the IoT industry, which is a critical application area of 5G.

According to Liu Shuangguang, chairman of Gosuncn, 5G is an inevitable trend of the future communications industry while C-V2X, as a special non-line-of-sight sensor, will become one of the core technologies of autonomous driving.

By applying such technologies, vehicles, be they human-driven or driverless, can know in real-time what's ahead of them.

Geely added that currently, some of its autonomous models have arrived at Level 2, but with the introduction of these technologies, they will be lifted to Level 3 by the end of 2021.

Level 2 means "hand off"-the automated system takes full control of the vehicle, but the driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time.

Level 3 refers to "eyes off"-the vehicle will handle situations which require an immediate response, and the driver must still be prepared to intervene within some limited time.

Level 5 is the highest standard, which means no human intervention is required at all.

Major Chinese vehicle manufacturers are stepping up efforts to promote related technologies. Traditional carmakers are striving to join hands with tech companies to accelerate the progress.

Last month, another Chinese vehicle maker Changan Automobile signed a cooperation deal with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to establish a joint innovation center for 5G car networking and C-V2X technology.

The Chinese authorities have paid great attention to intelligent-connected vehicles and strived to promote the industry to be globally competitive.

The nation plans to have smart cars with partial or fully autonomous functions accounting for 50 percent of the new vehicles sold in the nation by 2020.

Market consultancy IDC predicted that China will become the world's largest market for internet of things by 2022, with annual expenditure of $300 billion.

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