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Connected vehicles: how to select 4G/5G network access devices

Connected vehicles on bridge

As the automotive industry continues to mature, adding more connected vehicles continuously, it’s important to keep looking ahead. Vehicles, in contrast to many other items of hardware, have long active lifespans so car makers are focused a long way ahead in terms of planning their future products. How to do this effectively was a key focus in a recent Quectel webinar hosted by Manfred Lindacher, VP, Sales Automotive International at Quectel Wireless Solutions.

With early efforts now concluded, the next generation of automotive connectivity centers around LTE, cellular vehicle-to-x (C-V2X), LTE Advanced (LTE A) and 5G in both 3GPP Release 15 and Release 16. Lindacher focused on 4G and 5G network access devices (NADs) for connected vehicles and detailed the latest innovations in V2X products in order to help automakers and their suppliers plan their future IoT products.

3GPP: 5G Release 16

Release 16 is the next significant new functionality that comes to market next and there is huge interest in it. Quectel plans to have engineering samples of its new 5G Release 16 IoT modules ready and available early in the fourth quarter of 2022 and further product information will become available soon, once chipset vendors, Qualcomm and MediaTek are ready to share details of their chipset performance.

Quectel’s roadmap also includes the established automotive IoT modules AG35, AG15, AG52xR, AG509M and AG55xQ for connected vehicles, which support LTE, C-V2X and LTE-A connectivity. Commercial samples of these are either launched or set to become available during the first half of 2022. Further along the roadmap, 5G Release 15 automotive modules include the AG57xQ, the AG568N and the AG569N. Engineering samples of these will be available for customers’ software designs in May 2022 with commercial samples following in October. Importantly, the AG509M, AG519M, AG568N and AG569N series share layout compatibility on the same PCB footprint.

Support packages for automotive modules

Further to this, Lindacher detailed Quectel’s support package for its NAD modules which comprises a technical materials package that contains hardware and software development guides, debugging tools, download tools, test tools and an EVB kit and USB drivers. This has been designed with additional interfaces, accessories, and development tools to enable NAD manufacturers for connected automotive devices to simplify and accelerate development of their devices.

Momentum in the connected vehicles market is growing rapidly with 5G coverage needing to be improved to support global deployments of connected vehicles. A combination of LTE, LTE-Advanced and C-V2X connectivity is therefore likely to connect more vehicles more of the time than 5G, either in Release 15 or 16. However, an upgrade path is desirable and layout compatibility between different IoT modules will provide automakers with greater flexibility as they rise to the challenge of adding 4G and 5G NADs to their products.

To learn more about Quectel’s roadmap for automotive 4G and 5G NADs, listen to Manfred’s presentation at https://mobex.io/webinars/4g-and-5g-network-access-devices-for-automotive-applications/

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