Verizon has announced it is partnering with Volkswagen brand Audi AG to set up a 5G network on the German carmaker’s private test track to help aid in the testing of smart vehicle technology. 

According to a Verizon announcement on Thursday (February 22), the project will simulate driving scenarios from several markets to test autonomous mobility, vehicles connecting to third-party objects, and vehicle-to-cloud communications. 

The state-of-the-art track will be fitted with replicas of Verizon’s 5G networks using gear from Nokia, data transfer tools from Smart Mobile Labs, and computing software from Amazon Web Services.

“Increasingly, vehicles are not just about transportation, but a means of communication, entertainment, education, and work — effectively, rolling cell phones and high-powered computers,” said TJ Fox, SVP of IoT and automotive at Verizon Business in a statement. 

“That means the future vehicle will be packed with technology that needs to work under many different sets of network conditions, and Audi and Verizon Business are solving for those needs with this state-of-the-art facility,” Fox added.

The project will also help enhance safety application testing due to the increased availability of data and communication.

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Petr Kozak, head of development for infotainment, connectivity, data management and AI at Audi AG, said the partnership gives the company a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

“Verizon Business was able to provide a complete solution that will take time and cost out of the testing cycle and give us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace,” said Kozak.

The move comes as automakers look to partner with technology and telecom companies to provide their vehicles with better data and software.

The news comes as the value of AV deals in the US have failed to reach the heights of 2021, according to GlobalData’s deal database.

In 2023YTD, as of 14 December, the value of AV deals totalled just over $10m in the US.

This is significantly lower than 2021, which saw the value of deals total $48.2m. This was an increase over the year prior, which saw the value of US deals total $26.6m.

The fall in value of US AV deals signals an end to the hype which grew throughout the 2010s, as AV companies battle a number of hurdles to get their vehicles on the road.

According to GlobalData'sThematic Research: Autonomous Vehicles (2023), the US, China, some European countries, and smaller countries that have taken a highly supportive stance to AVs will occupy leading positions in the future of AVs.