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Intel announces 5G modem, reveals self-driving car plans with BMW

Intel has joined in the CES celebrations by announcing a new 5G modem for use in a variety of products, from mobile phones to drones and cars.

The company looks to be trying to get a head start on competitors with 5G, the next big mobile connectivity standard, by giving manufacturers a way to test 5G in their upcoming products.

While there’s been no publicly agreed upon standard for 5G networks as yet, Intel is helping things along with its latest modem, and is likely hoping to become a major supplier for 5G technology in the future.

Related: CES 2017

Recently, the company has been making investments in drones and self-driving cars, two products that could benefit from 5G tech.

And when it comes to self-driving cars, Intel’s previously announced partnership with BMW and Mobileye will soon yield a fleet of 40 test vehicles, which will hit the road in the second half of 2017.

The companies announced the project at CES in Las Vegas, following the announcement of their partnership back in July.

Related: What is 5G?

bmw autonomousA BMW engineer works on an autonomous system

The three firms say they have already developed a “scalable architecture” for autonomous driving – a technology they hope will eventually be used by other manufacturers and developers.

Intel says the system is scalable because it can be used either as discreet modules at the most basic level or an entire autonomous driving system.

The project to test 40 vehicles will, according to BMW, be carried out “globally under real traffic conditions,” though just where the tests will take place remains unclear.

Related: Who’s to blame when robot cars get it wrong?

Explaining the benefits of the partnership, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said: “From an industry perspective, we are already seeing savings and speed in development by sharing development costs and in pooling resources to develop a complete autonomous platform.

“The car to cloud system will perform with consistent, predictable behavior and is validated to the highest level of safety.

“That’s why this partnership is breaking new ground.  We have established a dedicated team with clear, shared goals and a culture of innovation and agility and accountability.”

Intel, BMW, and Mobileye say they plan to release hardware samples and software updates in the upcoming years.

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Let us know what you think of Intel’s 5G ambitions in the comments.

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