The automaker announced its plan to roll out 5G in its Chinese market vehicles during its Tech Day media event held in Shanghai this week. The 5G service will provide faster internet speeds over the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi that it already offers in its vehicles. These faster upload/download speeds will enable over-the-air-updates in more vehicles and will also help new GM vehicles connect and communicate with other vehicles on the road (vehicle-to-vehicle) as well as the public road infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure).
“In connectivity, nearly all GM vehicles in China from its global brands will be connected via flexible platforms and industry-leading scale,” the automaker said during the Tech Day event. “GM will capitalize on mega-trends like 5G, artificial intelligence, smart cities and big data. In 2022, 5G will be available on all new Cadillac models and most Chevrolet and Buick vehicles going forward. The most up-to-date connected services will be provided through over-the-air updates.”
GM declined to discuss any plans to roll out 5G in its vehicles in the United States or Canada, though it seems like a logical and inevitable next step from the 4G LTE technology it already offers. China has been more aggressive with regard to 5G adoption and is expected to have over 100 million 5G connections by 2021 and one billion 5G users by 2025. The number of 5G users worldwide is expected to surpass 2.6 billion by 2025, as well.
The rollout of 5G will help GM meet its “vision zero” initiative of reducing accident deaths, vehicle emissions and traffic congestion. The aforementioned vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology will enable vehicles to communicate with the traffic infrastructure and vehicles around them to help reduce accidents and congestion. For example, V2V could help a vehicle predict what another nearby motorist is doing behind the wheel to prevent an accident, or read a traffic signal to prepare the vehicle to start automatically braking. This technology could also be used to find the best navigation route in order to reduce congestion/traffic in certain areas or to streamline a city’s morning commute.
The first GM vehicle with 5G-ready vehicle-to-everything technology will launch later this year on the refreshed Buick GL8 MPV minivan, which is for China only.