SK Telecom, Ericsson demonstrate 5G connected BMW at 28 GHz

SK Telecom and Ericsson are claiming a first after conducting 5G trials with BMW at a BMW driving center in Yeongjong Island, Incheon, South Korea, using the 28 GHz band.

The companies said the trial showed that 5G performance will support V2X (Vehicular Connectivity) services that require low latency and consistent high bi-directional throughput. SK described it as the world’s largest millimeter wave 5G trial network using the 28 GHz band.

Known as “T5,” the 5G-based vehicle was able to observe road conditions through a state-of-the-art video recognition camera installed within the vehicle to provide notifications and assisted driving to drivers. The demo actually used two cars, which were equipped with 5G terminals, and the tests were conducted on driving tracks inside the driving center, which spans an area of 240,000 square meters and supports more than 20 Gbps peak data rates with sub-millisecond latency.

To create the test environment, Ericsson deployed network slicing and used multiple radio transmission points at 28 GHz to cover the entire track. They were able to achieve uninterrupted connectivity using beam tracking and beam transfer across the different transmission points at speeds exceeding 100 kilometers per hour. Ericsson said the performance also showed that 5G enables multiple connected car use cases such as augmented and virtual reality, obstacle control and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

SK showed how it was able to transmit—in real time over the 5G network from the device to the network (uplink)—ultra-high-definition (UHD) video taken by 4K cameras and a 360-degree camera installed both inside and outside of the vehicle.  A control center was set up for the audience to see the demonstration through large screen displays.

SK announced last week that it was the first Asian mobile operator to join the 5G Automotive Alliance (5GAA), which was formed in September to address mobility and road safety. Other members include BMW Group, Ericsson, Audi AG, Daimler AG, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Vodafone Group.

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In August, SK announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SOCAR, the largest car-sharing company in Korea, to cooperate in the connected car business. SK Telecom will provide SOCAR with its in-car infotainment device and cars will be connected via SK Telecom’s LTE-M network. The connected car service will go through a pilot test at the end of this year and is expected to launch in the first half of 2017.

SK Telecom has completed the nationwide rollout of two key IoT-dedicated networks, namely LTE-M (as of March 2016) and LoRaWAN (as of June 2016) to support a range of IoT services.

With the support of the LTE-M network, users of the car sharing service will be able to remotely control the car in real-time with no delay via their smartphones, and the car will be seamlessly connected to the control center to send and receive information, SK said.