A new wave of 5G-enabled cars are headed our direction. Audi is the latest automaker to announce it will offer 5G connectivity in select models of future cars. The German manufacturer announced today that select models of Audi vehicles, beginning in 2024, will be able to connect to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network.
Drivers of the new Audi 5G lineup can expect a host of new features, including higher speeds to download or stream entertainment, an improved in-car navigation system with 3D mapping, cloud-based user-profiles and even the (arguably dangerous) ability to buy things in your car.
Just note that drivers will likely need to pay a subscription to access Audi's 5G in-car services. While Audi didn't disclose how much a 5G subscription would cost, the current Function On-Demand plan with 4G LTE in-car WiFi and navigation is $849 per year.
The new 5G vehicles will also build on Audi’s current crop of in-car connected services, including information on traffic lights and low-latency road alerts. This will likely mean an even faster and more detailed version of what Audi’s 4G-enabled cars already offer. We’ve already seen current Audi models that offer integrated payment for toll roads and will alert drivers when they’re near a school bus, cyclists, road crews and other obstacles.
Audi’s 5G cars will also be equipped with mobile edge computing, which likely means better autonomous driving features since the cars will be able to react to data instantly. The tech industry has pushed for mobile edge computing on cars as a way to improve the safety of AV features. Edge computing will allow for real-time data processing, so cars can respond faster to other cars, infrastructure, and connected devices on the road.
The US is getting closer to the connected car future that major automakers like Audi, BMW, Volvo, Ford have pushed for. Roughly 60 percent of US drivers rode a connected vehicle in 2021, and that number is expected to grow to more than 70 percent by 2025, according to an eMarketer report. While drawbacks for drivers include the added costs of subscription plans and cybersecurity risks, many still enjoy the added safety and entertainment features.