BMW Group announced on 1 December 2017 that it had signed a licensing agreement with Avanci, a body made up of large corporations in the telecommunications field. Avanci offers licences to patents essential to implementing the 2G, 3G and 4G cellular standards which fuel today’s mobile telephony infrastructure.
This licensing agreement will provide BMW with access to essential wireless technologies, specifically related to the internet of things. This is an example of the recent movement in the automotive industry towards more vertical collaboration with organisations that would not traditionally form part of the automotive industry. Another example being the recent tie-up between Ford and Amazon to utilise the Alexa platform, where it’s thought that it will be used to increase the connectivity between home and car.
In accessing this technology, BMW has suggested an intention to develop future cars with the internet of things in mind. Using 2G, 3G and 4G technologies in the development of the ‘connected car’ will enable those cars to interact with their surrounding environments, with the mobile devices of their drivers and in new, novel ways with other cars.
It’s expected that more and more large automotive manufacturers will crave access to patents essential to implementing the internet of things and will therefore need to obtain licenses to 2G, 3G and 4G cellular standards. The ongoing development of driverless cars toward level five autonomy, where driver intervention will not be necessary, will also necessitate increasing connectivity between cars and their surrounding environments.