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Bringing 5G Innovation to Production

Tobias Aderum and his R&D team can be found at a private 5G testing environment set up at Magna’s test track in Vargarda, Sweden, where new cutting-edge Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) solutions in vehicle connectivity are being trialed.

In December 2023, Magna joined NorthStar – Telia Sweden and Ericsson’s 5G innovation program for industrial enterprises. As part of NorthStar, Magna has access to 5G technology, the fifth generation of mobile networks that allows high-speed data connection, to develop more capable and competitive ADAS products.

A 15-year veteran of the automotive industry, Aderum joined Magna in June 2023 as part of the acquisition of Veoneer Active Safety. Here, he discusses his role at Magna, the future of vehicle connectivity, and where he gets inspiration for his work.

Please tell us about your background.

I live not far from the Magna test track in Vargarda on a farm that has been in my family for six generations. I was born on my grandfather’s nearby farm and was raised in the country. Growing up with crops and animals taught me to value nature and care for the environment. I’m building a new house here with my fiancé Nathalie, a textile engineer, and my two kids, Sebastian, 7, and Linnea, 3. I love to ski in the winter and water ski in the summer. I enrolled in Uppsala University’s Master’s program in Engineering Physics, so I could understand how to work on things that make our lives better. All of these things inspire my work.

How would you describe yourself?

A great driver for me has always been how can we improve the world through new innovations. As an engineering physicist, I work on bringing innovation from research to production. My focus goes along the line: ‘How can new technology and automation be useful for humans, vehicles and society?’

My job is fascinating because we’re working on new sensor technologies, new ADAS features, and system capabilities based on existing Magna products. It’s exciting when you can connect different products and come up with new concepts, from improving safety to integrating ADAS with in-vehicle infotainment systems as an example.

“As an engineering physicist, I work on bringing innovation from research to the market. My focus: ‘How can new technology and automation be useful for humans, vehicles and society?’”

Tobias Aderum, Director, Research & Development

Why is 5G important for the development of next-generation ADAS products?

Today, most new vehicles are connected but mainly to the manufacturer. With 5G on the way, more bandwidth will enable better infotainment solutions for consumers. However, when cars will be able to communicate with each other, not just within a brand, but across brands and with low latency, ADAS will see the benefits with what we call V2X – vehicle-to-everything (i.e., vehicles communicating to other vehicles, surrounding infrastructure, other road users, etc.). When we then add the development of software-defined vehicles, the innovation speed in the market will accelerate even more. By the end of this decade, the industry will be transitioning to 5G / V2X as the technology is standardized and deployed.

The high-speed data connection with 5G will also enable us to send more data and do more things with ADAS systems, including “collective perception,” where we share more of what road users, infrastructure and vehicles are “seeing” fused in a digital twin. We demonstrated this concept at CES at the beginning of 2024.

In the future, there is also the potential for subscription services for certain on-demand ADAS features. For example, a consumer may be able to pay $5 for one-time use of ADAS to park a trailer using information from the collective perception. There may be an app store like you have with smartphones, where consumers can pay for the technology on an as-needed basis. Innovations like this can happen with 5G and V2X technology. But a car is not a cellphone, so there are challenges for safety, security and privacy that have to first be addressed.

What are the biggest challenges?

One of the challenges we want to address is understanding the driver, and how people will use the technology. The consumer has to like the technology, otherwise they will not use it. It’s our job to make the technology intuitive and collaborative with the end-users.

That’s the big benefit with our test track. We can experiment before we deploy technology. We have a laboratory where we can test how things work in real-life scenarios. We test several vehicles in complex traffic situations, with dummies and other obstacles, and then we record and analyze the results.

What is the best thing about working with Magna?

Magna is involved in most things in the car, making innovation easier. We can turn to the Power of Magna and tap into resources from our capabilities in powertrain, exteriors, lighting, mechatronics and seating to combine with ADAS 5G innovations. Our ambition is to make Magna the leader in ADAS technology.

What is on the horizon in terms of future networks and connecting the cyber-physical world?

6G, the name for the sixth generation of cellular networks, is already being researched. We expect it to become available in the 2030s. There will be even more possibilities for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity. Count on us to explore that new technology and come up with even more new exciting concepts.

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