Fleet management tech will drive 5G growth integrated into smart vehicles in coming decade

Despite the recent global slowdown in auto sales due to COVID-19, some analysts are projecting the use of 5G wireless integrated into smart transportation will thrive by 26% annually over the coming decade.

Future Market Insights said the fast, low-latency 5G tech has and will allow auto makers to deliver advanced features in Advanced Drive-Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as fuel-tracking, real-time navigation and communication, in-vehicle infotainment, speed and cruise control and better fleet management.

In addition, wireless service providers are working on vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications for better road safety.  It is expected that ADAS and higher-level automation for vehicles will reduce the number of accidents, with 1 million deaths globally each year. In the U.S., transportation officials blame 90% of fatal traffic accidents on human causes.

FMI put the worldwide value of 5G in smart transportation at $9.5 billion by the end of 2030.  Most of the market share will come from hardware components inside of vehicles, namely On-Board Units that drive numerous apps.  Fleet management apps will be the biggest sub-segment because of high demand in the commercial truck and smart vehicle sector.

Also, V2X is projected to grow at about 30% annually as more highway regulatory agencies work with vehicle makers and service providers to connect devices.  North America will be the leading regional market because of U.S.-based service providers and their proximity to auto makers, FMI said on Monday.

FMI said the outbreak of COVID-19 will create fluctuations in the growth of the market, but long-term growth prospects are expected to remain.  The analysts note that East Asian governments force national lockdown in early 2020 over virus fears and auto manufacturing “came to a screeching halt” that brought down auto sales.  In the U.S., sales reported by automakers dropped 30% to 38%. 

The downward trend in auto sales in the first quarter and second quarter began to reverse at the end of the second quarter in East Asia, a sign that healthy growth in the market remains intact, FMI said.

Various companies in the 5G smart vehicle market continue to focus on R&D to find real-time communications solutions and provide fleet management, FMI said.  Wi-Fi 6 will play a role as well as 5G. 

FMI called out Qualcomm’s Car-to-Cloud service powered by 5G to help smart vehicles keep cockpit and telematics systems up to date. That service was launched in January 2020 and has been followed by Qualcomm’s related work in V2X and artificial intelligence work for autos.

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Also in early 2020, Verizon announced a partnership with HERE Technologies to collaborate on safety and nav systems in connected cars, FMI noted.

FMI named a number of prominent carmakers that are relying on 5G for smart transportation R&D  that include major European companies such as Audi AG, BMW AG, Daimler AG and Volkswagen as well as Deutsche Telekom AG, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Huawei Device Co., Vodafone Limited, Bosch GmbH, and Telefonica.

Telia launched 5G in Stockholm in May and deployed 5G Ericsson radio gear connecting a minibus to the Telia 5G. Intel provided analytics and processing tech across the network as well.

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