Ericsson and Volvo Cars hailed key progress towards delivering 5G connectivity in vehicles after a trial in which they passed cars off from one compatible network to another.

In a trial at a Swedish race track, moving vehicles were handed off between a pair of 5G networks. The technology was used to provide up-to-date HD maps to drivers, with edge computing employed to provide contextual information about the destination or environment around the vehicle.

The handoff could prove a key step towards enabling cross-border connectivity in vehicles, a feature tipped as critical to the success and safety of 5G in the global automotive manufacturing sector.

“Sharing an updated map with other cars is a latency-sensitive task and requires high network performance within and across multiple networks”, said Mikael Prytz, Ericsson research director in business area Networks.

Ericsson added for 5G vehicles to realise their potential, autonomous and connected cars will need to behave as clusters rather than individual units.

The test Ericsson conducted with Volvo was part of 5GCroCo, a European Union-funded project to trial the next-generation technology in a corridor connecting France, Germany and Luxembourg.

Ericsson is also active in the 5G Automotive Association and the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium, a cross-industry association working to build the connected car ecosystem.