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Q&A: Airgain talks F1, automation and transforming transport

Formula One

Speaking to Gigabit magazine, Chuck Myers, President and CEO of Airgain, a global leader in wireless connectivity platforms and partner of McLaren Technology Group, gives insight into how innovative wireless solutions can transform Formula One and the automotive industry as a whole.

How do you think the likes of wireless technology can transform the F1 industry?

Formula 1 is a sport where every hundredth of a second counts. The faster the huge amounts of data generated during a race, whether from devices on the car or elsewhere, is communicated to the engineers the better informed they are and the quicker and more effective decisions they can make. High performance connectivity can literally be the difference between winning and losing.

Introduce the partnership with McLaren. Why have the companies decided to come together on this? 

Partnering with McLaren is a strategic move that will build a powerful and mutually beneficial relationship. Airgain’s expertise will help the McLaren team enhance its wireless connectivity capabilities, aiding its performance both on and off the track.

Utilising the platform we have created with McLaren, we will co-develop engineering solutions to solve the challenges of tomorrow. Bringing together the best engineering minds from across the globe sits at the heart of our business. Our partnership with McLaren gives us access to truly world-class engineering experts who will collaborate with our own talent, enabling us to better support the hyper-connected world of the future.

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How do you hope this work with McLaren will translate into solutions for the wider transport industry?

Airgain’s proven record with applying advanced technologies in real world situations, across sectors, will be invaluable when it comes to figuring out ways we can improve the wider transport industry. The connected vehicle market needs hyper connectivity to ensure vehicles are both road-safe and practical to use.

To ensure this becomes a reality, commitment to research and development of new advanced solutions is the key to success. McLaren’s resources and experience in the automotive sector will be pivotal in supporting the work Airgain is undertaking to revolutionize the transportation industry.

What do you think will be the greatest impact or benefit of AI on the transport industry in the next few years? Likewise, what are some of the challenges that will need addressing in implementing AI solutions into major transport systems?

While artificial intelligence technology can steal the limelight in discussions around the future of the automotive industry, it will be connectivity that will really take vehicles to the next level. Airgain recently announced its membership of the 5GAA, an organisation comprised of technology and automotive companies, which is dedicated to exploring how the 5G standard can benefit the transport industry.

Airgain, like other members of this association, believes that despite the significant advancements made with automotive technologies (such as AI, LiDAR, road mapping and vehicle maintenance technologies), these technologies can only function as intended when supported by cutting-edge connectivity. In the next few years we can expect to see the standardisation of high-grade connectivity for vehicles, as this will be fundamental to the success of the transport industry.

What does it mean to become a member of the 5G Automotive Association?

We are delighted to join the 5GAA to bring all our efforts on 5G technology to the automotive industry. Airgain has a responsibility to the automotive industry: developing and providing the connectivity solutions necessary to harness 5G and leverage the standard for in-vehicle, vehicle-to-vehicle, and vehicle-to-infrastructure applications.

Collaboration with other companies who share this responsibility for the future of travel is essential to make the world of autonomous transport a reality. These are incredibly exciting times for the automotive industry, but vehicles in the future must be completely responsive, work in real-time and deliver crucial information at the exact moment it is needed if they are to deliver on today’s promises.

How important a role will 5G play in the development of smart/autonomous vehicle networks?

The introduction of 5G will potentially work wonders for the development of autonomous vehicle networks, but the opportunities this standard will present come with caveats. The radio frequencies and the data they carry will become even more complicated and far more difficult to manage. To ensure communication between devices doesn’t slow or become confused, attention to detail on matters like antenna design will be crucial.

Ensuring different standards do not interfere with each other and negatively impact performance is already hugely challenging. The role 5G will play in the development of autonomous vehicle networks is important, but having the foundations in place to harness it even more so.

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