SK Telecom and Ericsson says that they have not only deployed the world largest mmWave 5G trial network, they have also connected the world’s first two 5G-based connected cars to it.
The 5G trial network, which uses the 28-GHz band, has been deployed at the BMW driving center located in Yeongjong Island, Incheon, and covers all driving tracks which span across an area of 240,000 square meters.
SK Telecom and Ericsson have jointly developed and deployed the 5G radio and core network infrastructure, which they say supports peak data rates above 20 Gbps with sub-millisecond latency.
According to Ericsson, the trial simultaneously implemented new key 5G capabilities with multi-site, multi-transmission point, MU-MIMO, and with multiple devices operating in the millimeter wave frequency band. From the press release:
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 at speeds exceeding 100 kilometers per hour [was] also achieved. The performance shown enables multiple connected car use cases such as augmented and virtual reality, obstacle control and vehicle to vehicle communication …
For the demonstration, SK Telecom worked with BMW Group Korea to install 5G terminals within two BMW vehicles.
The connected cars – named “T5” – leverage 5G connectivity and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology, which provides innovative features that improve road safety and the driving experience by supporting ultra-low latency communication between vehicles or the vehicle and its environment.
SK Telecom said the trial demonstrated T5’s capability to observe road conditions enabled by a video recognition camera installed within the vehicle so as to provide notifications and assisted-driving to drivers.
In addition, the demo included transmission of ultra-high-definition (UHD) video in real time over the 5G network via 4K cameras and a 360-degree camera installed both inside and outside of the vehicles. The video was uplinked from the cars to the control center.
While SKT was at it, the operator also introduced a 5G-based virtual reality bus (name: the 5G Experience Bus). Equipped with large screen displays, an audio system and video cameras to provide augmented/virtual reality multimedia, 5G Experience Bus provides passengers with immersive media experience while on the move.
“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,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO and Head of Corporate R&D Center of SK Telecom. “Today’s demonstration of 5G-based connected car technologies marks the very first step towards achieving fully autonomous driving in the upcoming era of 5G.”
“At present, global automakers are expanding partnerships and collaborations to gain an edge in the area of future mobility realized through 5G,” said Kim Hyo-joon, the CEO of BMW Group Korea. “The cooperation between BMW and SK Telecom will lay the foundation for 5G-based connected car technologies, and inspire us to achieve more innovations.”
SK Telecom has been actively pursuing connected cars as a key application for 5G in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the cellco signed an agreement with Intel to develop V2X technologies powered by artificial intelligence, and also became the first Asian telco to join the 5G Automotive Association.
Meanwhile, 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 area via cooperation with global telecoms equipment manufacturers including Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung Electronics starting from early 2017.
Based on those trial networks, the company plans to develop and verify diverse futuristic 5G services such as connected cars, artificial intelligence, robotics, and immersive media based on augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.