Audi and Ericsson agree to find ways to apply 5G to car factories

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Image credit: Dmitry Tkachenko Photo / Shutterstock.com

Audi and Ericsson have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop ways to use 5G technology for automotive production.

At Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, the two companies agreed on a range of activities exploring the potential of 5G as a future-proof communication technology that can meet the high demands of automotive production. The companies will run field tests in a technical center of the Audi Production Lab in Gaimersheim, Germany.

In the first phase of the project, Audi and Ericsson will test a latency-critical application using wirelessly connected production robots that are equipped with a gluing application – a commonly used technique in auto body construction.

The planned infrastructure at the technical center in Gaimersheim will include the implementation of 5G technologies in a simulated production environment that mirrors those of Audi’s plant in Ingolstadt and other locations. The laboratory will be equipped with Ericsson’s proof-of-concept network, which is an open trial facility to enable early deployments of 5G technology. The network is designed to integrate alternative or complementary technologies to the ones currently in use, including Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity of production components.

In addition to the Ingolstadt plant, Audi and Ericsson are exploring whether 5G can be used in other Audi factories.

“The fully networked factory will have a significant impact on the production of the future. A powerful network architecture that can respond in real time is of decisive importance for us,” said Frank Loydl, chief information officer at Audi. “As part of the project with our partner Ericsson, we are testing the opportunities offered by 5G technology for industrial applications in the smart factory.”

Ericsson group CTO Erik Ekudden said that 5G technology has many network characteristics that are essential for Industry 4.0 with increasingly flexible and complex production processes, such as faster data throughput rates, highly secure availability and ultra-low latency.

“This project is a great opportunity to see what is possible when we bring 5G into an automobile production environment to truly enable smart wireless manufacturing,” Ekudden said.

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