The automaker teamed up with Verizon to install its 5G Ultra Wideband network at Factory Zero, which has “considerably faster download speeds and greater bandwidth,” than comparable 4G networks, GM said in a statement.
This 5G network will give the various connected machines and devices in the plant, such as robotics, sensors and the Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) that deliver materials across the plant floor, a fast and reliable network to operate on. Employees will also be able to access the network to connect their own digital tools and devices and to facilitate fast communication between workers on the shop floor.
“Factory Zero’s new 5G connection will transmit critical application data securely and quickly for our manufacturing team,” Randy Mott, GM executive vice president and chief information officer, said in a prepared statement. “This is another example of cutting-edge use of technology improving quality and speed as GM accelerates its rollout of EVs.”
GM is among the first business customers of Verizon’s new 5G Ultra Wideband network. It’s not clear if it plans to install similar 5G networks at its other assembly plants, though with an increasing amount of machines, robots and tools relying on an internet connection to work properly, this seems like it could one day become a necessary infrastructure upgrade at major GM plants.
Factory Zero is GM’s first dedicated battery-electric vehicle plant. GM previously announced an investment of $2.2 billion to retool, which is the largest-ever single investment for a GM manufacturing plant. These upgrades will prepare the plant to produce a number of future GM EVs, including the GMC Hummer EV and Cruise Origin robotaxi.