Mobile Devices

More than 80 million 5G connected cars forecasted to be on the road by 2035

13 March 2020

One of the big potential use cases for 5G outside of just mobile devices is in connected cars and, eventually, autonomous vehicles. The ability to have cars communicate with each other is already something automotive OEMs are working toward and by 2030 a total of 41 million 5G connected cars will be on the roads, increasing that number to 83 million 5G connected cars by 2035, according to a new report from ABI Research.

To put this in context, 5G connected cars will make up more than 75% of the total cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) equipped cars.

"These numbers underline the huge momentum for cellular connectivity, and particularly 5G, in the automotive sector," said Leo Gergs, research analyst for 5G Markets at ABI Research. "As a consequence, we will see a rising number of automotive OEMs start developing C-V2X modules for their cars during 2020. We can then expect the first 5G connected cars on the roads in 2022."

ABI Research said automotive OEMs such as Audi, BMW and Volkswagen are partnering with Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia on large-scale pilot projects to test the capabilities of cellular technologies for connected cars. Ford also recently announced new car models that will come equipped with C-V2X for 2021.

In the pilot projects, it found that through enhancing traffic efficiency, 5G can reduce fuel consumption by up to one-third. It will also help in protecting other road users such as pedestrians or cyclists as the technology would allow cars to communicate with each other over traffic jams or dangers in the road.

ABI said a large part of the global GDP that 5G will bring — which will be $17 trillion by 2035 — will be through increasing the safety of road traffic, thereby reducing healthcare and taking pressure off doctors and hospitals.

For this technology to become a reality, public authorities and transportation infrastructure need to fund the installation of cellular networks and enable widespread deployment of C-V2X to make road traffic safer and greener, ABI said.

Steps are already underway to enable this, including the FCC’s decision to open the 5.9 GHz frequency for C-V2X technology. Other regulations need to follow, and infrastructure and network operators should continue to work with automotive OEMs to make 5G a success for connected cars, ABI Research recommends.

Learn more about ABI Research’s findings with its 5G in Automotive and Smart Transportation report.

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