BMW Adds 5G at Plants in China
BMW AG’s joint venture with Brilliance Automotive Group Holdings in China has installed 5G communication networks at all three of its manufacturing facilities.
BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA), which is majority owned by BMW, says the technology can improve production efficiency, quality and flexibility. BBA partnered with China Unicom and China Mobile on the system.
The two vehicle assembly plants and one engine factory installed a total of 21 antennas and 35 5G base stations, covering more than 3 million sq meters (32.3 million sq ft) this spring. In the first three months of operation, 5G data rate has increased to 1 gigabit per second, which is fast enough to download an entire high-definition movie in a few seconds, according to the carmaker.
In factories, such high-speed communications will allow networked machines and systems to exchange data in real time to optimize the production process and identify and troubleshoot potential problems.
BBA also has launched a pilot project that uses 5G to transfer large quantities of data from vehicles to the data center. This will enable the company to quickly analyze information and make updates from in-process and end-of-the-line vehicle testing and diagnostics.
Future 5G applications could include augmented reality, cloud-based control of autonomous transport systems, human-to-machine interaction using mobile smart devices and robot-to-robot communications, BBA says.
BMW plans to eventually install 5G systems at all of its global manufacturing facilities. Audi and Mercedes-Benz also are testing 5G systems in select plants.