BMW and Harman’s 5G capable vehicles set to roll out in 2021

5G cars may not yet be ready for a 2021 roll out

BMW and Harman are developing 5G capable vehicles. The powerful pair intends to roll out the new cars between 2021 and 2023.

5G will be in every smartphone released this 2020. The price points of 5G capable phones continue to drop, and it will soon be ubiquitous in everyone’s pockets.

BMW and Harman intend to do the same for cars. They are presently working on how to make their vehicles 5G capable, but the implementation isn not just a walk in the park.

5G needs plenty of antennas

There are already a handful of cars in the market that are 4G capable. The feature started at first with the premium car lineups, and it eventually trickled down to the cheapest cars available.

Unlike 4G, 5G capability is harder to implement. 5G bandwidths rely on stronger and shorter radio frequencies for more stable connections. This means that the 5G cars will need more antennas to provide reliable service.

To do this, BMW and Harman look toward the direction of smartphones. Smartphones have 5G capability because of the embedded microchip and functional antenna bands implementation.

5G cars may not yet be ready for a 2021 roll out

The German car manufacturer will have to do the same for their cars. The only logical area to place these antenna bands is on the car’s roof, and the sweet spot is the gap between the roof housing and indoor roof lining.

Even with this implementation, the problems persist. Unfortunately, the hottest part of the car during the day is the roof. The antennas will be fried if they are housed under the roof panel of the car. Should the manufacturers decided to insulate the roof, the connectivity of the antennas will be muted.

More powerful in-car displays with 5G

Presently, 4G capable cars are already versatile, but there is still room for improvement. Car manufacturers will have to focus better on increasing the sizes of in-car displays to provide a more intuitive touch screen.

With bigger displays and 5G features, the cars will become their digital ecosystem. With 5G antennas, cars will also be able to remotely update their software. According to lead technologist in BMW, the updates will focus more on the ‘security and ease-of-drive’.

Moreover, Cellular vehicle-to-everything (CV2X) will be even more powerful. Data sets of city road closures and traffic jams may now be localized. 5G cars will be able to send data to local centralized servers, which then send the collated data back to 5G cars. With this new feature, city driving can be smoother and smarter.

Image courtesy of Mateo Vrbnjak/ Unsplash and Taneli Lahtinen/ Unsplash

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