BMW's 5G Network goes live

By CARSIFU | 22 July 2019

BEIJING: BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) in Shenyang, China, has become the first carmaker to enable full 5G wireless coverage at all its plants and parent company, BMW Group, is looking at a long-term aim to establish 5G networks at all its plant locations worldwide.

The new wireless standard (5G) allows for the transfer of data of up to one gigabit per second – fast enough to download an entire HD film in just a few seconds, from an initial 600 megabytes per second.

The company partnered with China Unicom and China Mobile to build the infrastructure and connect its newfound network across a total area of over three million square metres.

Development began in October last year and was completed recently in April with 21 mobile phone masts and 35 5G base stations for its car plants in Tiexi and Dadong, as well as at its powertrain plant.

Possible 5G application scenarios include augmented reality, cloud-based control of autonomous transport systems, human-machine interaction using mobile smart devices, robot-to-robot communications and communication between robotics systems and control centre.

BMW 5G mobile network - 02

The new network will help the company to transform its automobile production and boost productivity.

In Germany, BMW Group is currently preparing to set up local private 5G networks to improve overall reliability and security of its current network.

This will help to benefit innovations that work with large quantities of data in real-time such as virtual and augmented reality, widescale networking of machines and the use of autonomous logistics fleets.

The network will allow networked machines and systems to exchange data in real-time and align themselves even more with the production process.

The company is currently implementing the technology in a pilot project that uses 5G to transfer large quantities of test data from vehicles to the data centre in real-time, making data collection and analysis more efficient.

This way, vehicle updates involving large volumes of data and real-time diagnostics could also be conducted remotely in the future.

“5G is a ground-breaking technology with the potential to revolutionise industrial production. BBA is taking a leading role in testing the use of 5G and developing new innovations and procedures to improve industrial productivity," said BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings joint venture president Johann Wieland.

The BBA Brilliance Automotive joint venture was founded in 2003 which encompasses production and sales of BMW automobiles in China, as well as local development tasks while employing a total of more than 18,000 people.

In 2018, the BBA automotive plants in Tiexi and Dadong produced over 490,000 vehicles for the Chinese market – an increase of almost 24% year-on-year.