Spend any time in front of your big screen and you’ll periodically see the telecommunications giants boasting through their commercials that 5G wireless connectivity is just around the corner and promising to make us, and everything we do, run as fast as Tobor, the Eighth Man. Maybe, we’ll see. But with connectivity and infotainment now established as prime selling features for new vehicles, the industry is making its own steps to board the 5G express. This week, Audi of America held a joint presence with Verizon at the latter’s huge tech campus in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, announcing their plan to build 5G capability into Audi’s entire U.S. model lineup, beginning with selected Audis during the 2024 model year.
So, what’s it mean? For one thing, Audi’s interconnection with the Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband network will give drivers and passengers a faster in-vehicle WiFi experienced than they’ve likely ever imagined. Passengers will have the ability to download and stream entertainment faster than ever while underway. Audi will gain the ability to perform over-the-air software updates to their vehicles, much like smartphones do today. Infotainment and navigation systems will gain 3D mapping capability. The biggest potential change, arguably, will come when a cellular-based Verizon network now under development will allow direct car-to-car communication, which will be a critical element as Audi begins work on self-driving technology.