SK Telecom and Ericsson demonstrate first multi-vehicular 5G connectivity with BMW


A three-way partnership between Ericsson, SK Telecom and BMW has deployed the world’s largest millimeter wave 5G trial network using the 28GHz band at BMW’s driving center located in Yeongjong Island, South Korea.

The demonstration project was also the first multi-site, multi-transmission point, multi-vehicular 5G trials, and used the world’s first 5G-based connected cars – modified BMWs named ‘T5’. SK Telecom and Ericsson jointly developed and deployed the 5G radio and core network infrastructure to cover the whole driving center, including all the driving tracks, which spans an area of 59 acres (24ha) and supports more than 20Gbps peak data rates with sub-millisecond latency. The trials with the two connected T5 test cars showed that 5G performance will support V2X (vehicle-to-vehicle/infrastructure) connectivity services that require low latency and consistent high bidirectional throughput.

The project team was able to transmit ultra-high-definition (UHD) video, taken by 360° 4K cameras installed both inside and outside of the vehicles, in real time, over the 5G network to the network control center, where the demonstration could be viewed on large screen displays. The trials showed consistent Gbps-level throughput with a few millisecond latencies. Uninterrupted connectivity, using beam tracking and beam transfer across the different transmission points, allowed streaming at vehicle speeds exceeding 62mph (100km/h). The performance shown during the trials would enable multiple connected car use cases, such as augmented and virtual reality, obstacle control, and V2V communication.

Ericsson is using its industry-leading 5G trial system to support multiple trial engagements with different operators around the world, enabling its operator partners to test various applications with different trial setups to explore new business opportunities. “We are working with leading operators and ecosystem players to drive the realization of 5G, both with today’s pre-standard field trials, and through standardization activities along with global standards bodies and industry groups,” explained Thomas Norén, head of area network products at Ericsson. “This trial takes us a step closer to 5G technology and commercialization, especially for connected vehicle applications.”

SK Telecom has also unveiled plans to deploy and operate 5G trial networks, characterized by different scales and capabilities, in Seoul and other select metropolitan areas, through cooperation with several global telecommunications equipment manufacturers, including Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung Electronics, starting in early 2017. Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO and head of the corporate R&D center at SK Telecom, said, “5G will offer much more than just faster data speeds. It will serve as a true enabler for a whole new variety of powerful services that deliver unprecedented value to customers. Today’s demonstration of 5G-based connected car technologies marks the very first step toward achieving fully autonomous driving in the upcoming era of 5G.”

Kim Hyo-joon, the CEO of BMW Group Korea, commented, “At present, global auto makers are expanding partnerships and collaborations to gain an edge in the area of future mobility realized through 5G. The cooperation between BMW, Ericsson and SK Telecom will lay the foundation for 5G-based connected car technologies, and inspire us to achieve more innovations.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).