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Audi revs up customised private 5G environment to gain edge

Auto giant’s private network aims to replicate connectivity environments found across the world to give it a competitive advantage by ensuring connected technology is sound and functional on public roads

The global automotive industry has hit the accelerator in its evolution towards software-defined vehicles, and looking to gain a competitive advantage in the global market by streamlining its multi-territory R&D test cycle, better replicating driver and passenger experiences around the world, Audi AG has announced a partnership with Verizon Business to build a private wireless network and tech-testing environment at its automotive test track.

One of the leading manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the premium and luxury segment, Audi Group is home to brands including Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Ducati. It manufacturers at 21 locations in 12 countries, and with its partners is present in more than 100 markets worldwide.

In 2022, the Audi Group delivered 1.61 million Audi vehicles, 15,174 Bentley vehicles, 9,233 Lamborghini vehicles and 61,562 Ducati motorcycles to customers.

The multi-core wireless network at the test facility in Neustadt, Germany is designed to duplicate network conditions in key markets around the world, with custom-built replicas of Verizon’s US public network, local European networks and the roaming network of Audi’s mobile virtual network operator partner in Asia-Pacific.

Audi and other brands from the Volkswagen Group have access to the track and network. Testable applications include voice, video, safety, autonomous mobility, vehicle-to-cloud communication, OEM-customer interactions, and cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) features and functionalities.

“Our needs for this test track were complex and multi-dimensional, encompassing many technologies, geographic network conditions and industry trends,” said Petr Kozak, head of development infotainment, connectivity, data management and artificial intelligence at Audi AG. “Verizon Business was able to provide a complete solution that will take time and cost out of the testing cycle, and give us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.”

Verizon Business has end-to-end responsibility for the delivery and support of the private LTE/5G network, which can be adapted to the development of the 3GPP standard over time.

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The network uses a dual 5G and LTE Modular Private Wireless platform from Nokia, C-V2X and private MEC infrastructure utilising AWS Outposts from Amazon Web Services, and real-time video and data-transmission technology from Smart Mobile Labs. The latter supports full HD streaming, push to talk, push to video and stream recording, among other applications.

“This is about much more than equipping a work site with a private network,” said TJ Fox, senior vice-president of industrial internet of things and automotive at Verizon Business. “This is about bringing network conditions from around the world to one test facility, allowing Audi to exceed the already-lofty demands of the mobility market looking years into the future.

“Increasingly, vehicles are not just about transportation, but a means of communication, entertainment, education and work – effectively, rolling cell phones and high-powered computers,” he said. “That means the vehicle of the future will be packed with technology that needs to work under many different sets of network conditions, and Audi and Verizon Business are solving for those needs with this state-of-the-art facility.”

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