A new-wave telecommunications company looking to connect smart-cars to mobile networks has just raised $46.5 million in funding. This is a significant leap forward in not only the telecom industry, but the modern world, because of the major impact it could have on the connected cars of the near future. But does it solve the biggest problem facing smart cars and IoT? Not quite.
Smart cars aren’t just the one of the hottest topics of the moment, they’re going to be the future of the auto industry. But like we’ve written about on this blog before, connecting these smart cars to mobile networks is a challenge that hasn’t been totally solved.
Normally, an automaker would make some sort of agreement with a (major) carrier about their network supporting their smart cars. But now, the startup Cubic Telecom will change that by being a “virtual mobile network provider” of sorts to the auto industry.
Cubic has agreements with 30 mobile operators across 180 countries — a major feat, and a huge advantage to companies like Audi who can now take advantage of it.
“We are pleased to strengthen our partnership by participating in this latest funding round, said Dr. Peter Steiner, managing director Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, in a statement. “By utilizing Cubic’s technology we are able to offer seamless Audi connect services to our customers in many countries all over the world without roaming costs and volume limitation.”
But while Audi drivers (and eventually other automakers) now have their smart cars connect to various networks as drivers travel domestically and internationally, Cubic hasn’t totally solved the network bandwidth problem itself.
The thing is, you can’t look at these cars like they’re cell phones because they’re much more powerful and much more sophisticated. Smart cars are part of the Internet of Things — transmitting and receiving massive volumes of data every minute. And as our CEO Olav van Doorn explained, the networks just weren’t built to handle that.
“…The mobile networks we use now were built and designed for voice. Over time, we’ve upgraded them to work with much more, like data and video with the help of 3/4/5G,” Olav van Doorn, wrote on LinkedIn. “But there’s no way we can run millions, and eventually billions, of autonomous cars on those networks. 3G, 4G and eventually 5G will handle it for a while, but as more of these cars hit the roads it’s just going to be too big to process. We’ll need to build an entirely new infrastructure.”
So where does this leave Cubic, our most promising answer to the rise of smart car connectivity to date? Well, we’re not totally sure. But, Cubic is working on integrating their technology right into cars at the start of manufacturing. So, by getting in early and becoming the industry standard, Cubic Telecom might just be able to hold their own in this quickly changing market.