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Volvo maps out vision of cars becoming mobile base stations


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Steve Costello

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LIVE FROM HUAWEI GLOBAL ANALYST SUMMIT 2014: Mathanna Abdulhussein from Volvo suggested a future where cars could help provide coverage for next-generation cellular networks, while acknowledging that there is a lot of work to be done before such an idea could be put into practice.

The executive, who leads cellular technology development projects for the car maker, said: “Cars will not just be a user, they will be a part of the network. Imagine the scenario when you install a base station in the roof of a vehicle: this vehicle can bring some revenue because we will be in a situation the same as a landowner, and instead of acquiring the rights to install base stations everywhere, the car can be a base station, and this is [a] good way to solve the problems of governance and filling holes in the network, because the people in the car are in the same place.”

When asked for further detail, Abdulhussein continued: “Moving base stations we see as a solution to many problems, including network coverage. But at the same time, there are a lot of challenges to be solved. Does this solution have to be compatible with LTE and Wi-Fi technologies? Does it have to work in all situations, like traffic jams and things like this? This is not yet discovered, to be honest.”

To this end, he called for the industry to work together on implementation through groups such as the EU’s METIS 2020 project.

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  • Mikael Lagerman

    Putting a basestation in the car will only move the access problem to the backhaul between the base station to the network. How should the base station reach back? The sum of the bandwidth would be the same as the sum of the mobile to basestation bandwith. It is true the basestation could have a more effective antenna and deploy more power, but everybody just raising their voice will omly add to general interferance.
    There is still a need for inventive ideas, like local routing inside this basestation, to make a differenace.
    I’d like to see this article / discussion elaborate more of how this would be done.