South Korean firm LG Electronics has announced that it is partnering with Qualcomm in efforts to research and develop driverless car technologies jointly. Consequently the two companies have set up a research and development center which is located in the South Korean capital Seoul. They also plan to open another research and development facility before the end of next year in the same city.
“We are optimistic that the combined research strength of Qualcomm and LG will yield benefits that would not be feasible working independently,” Kim Jin Yong, the executive vice president of vehicle components smart business unit at LG said.
5G wireless technology
The two firms’ joint research and development activities will concentrate on the 5G wireless technology in order to deliver data at speeds which are faster than what is currently available with the 4G wireless technology. This is seen as important for self-driving cars. According to LG the two firms will also work on the development of other wireless technologies which are required to ensure that connected cars are safe.
Field tests of the technologies the two companies are working on have been started in certain parts of Europe as well as in Asia. Both firms aim to have their autonomous car technologies available for distribution by 2020.
LG has also been a components supplier to makers of electric vehicles and this includes the Bolt which is made by General Motors. The South Korean firm is expected to become a major components supplier for car parts required in connected vehicles since it is vertically integrated with affiliates such as LG Chem, a battery maker; LG Display, a display maker and LG Innotek, a car module supplier.
The announcement of the partnership comes in the wake of Qualcomm revealing that it had completed tests of a connection using 5G wireless technology on a mobile device. Qualcomm used an X50 5G modem which was launched last year and this was on the frequency band of 28GHz millimeter. While the chipmaker said gigabit speeds were achieved in this particular test, the technology tested has the potential to reach 5Gbps.
The chipmaker also revealed that its smartphone reference design for 5G was ready and this will be used in testing 5G modems, networks and radios with makers of smartphones in the course of the next year or two. It is expected that mobile device manufacturers will be releasing smartphones and other mobile devices which are 5G-capable in the next two years.