At Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, the two companies agreed on a range of activities exploring the potential of 5G as a future-proof communication technology that can meet the high demands of automotive production. Audi and Ericsson have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and in the coming months, experts from both companies will run field tests in a technical center of the “Audi Production Lab” in Gaimersheim, Germany.In addition to the Ingolstadt plant, Audi and Ericsson are exploring whether 5G can be used in other Audi Group factories.
According to Ericsson, 5G is the next-generation of mobile communications, which will extend the performance of today’s mobile networks to serve the future needs of consumers and industries. 5G networks will deliver a better and faster broadband experience for consumers, while for businesses 5G will be an enabler to open up new applications for everything from connected vehicles to the smart factories of tomorrow.
This technology has many network characteristics that are essential for Industry 4.0 with increasingly flexible and complex production processes. It allows for faster data throughput rates and more network capacities, as well as promising highly secure availability. Moreover, ultra-low latency ensures fast response times between equipment in the factory system.
In the first phase of the project, Audi and Ericsson will test a latency-critical application using wirelessly connected production robots that are equipped with a gluing application — a commonly used technique in auto body construction.
The planned infrastructure at the technical center in Gaimersheim will include the implementation of 5G technologies in a simulated production environment that mirrors those of Audi’s plant in Ingolstadt and other locations. The laboratory will be equipped with Ericsson's Proof-of-Concept (PoC) network which is an open trial facility to enable early deployments of 5G technology. The network is designed to integrate alternative or complementary technologies to the ones currently in use, including WiFi or wireless LAN, or wired (Ethernet) connectivity of production components.