Driving Connected Transportation to the Next Level
By Mike Troiano, SVP of Product & Pricing for AT&T Business
December 12, 2022
When you think of a connected device, what is your first thought?
Probably a fitness tracker, a smartphone or a video doorbell. But there
are billions of unique connected devices in the market today, and
millions of those are on the road. Most cars today are connected, making
what used to be a “dead zone” for connectivity into a thriving mobile
As the U.S. leader in connected cars and IoT, we’re working on driving
transportation to the next level.
Vehicles “talking” to each other, interacting with traffic lights,
and seeing around corners.
Ambulances sending X-rays taken in transport to a hospital in near
Cars becoming mobile wallets with the use of blockchain technology and
Vehicles making and answering calls without bringing a smartphone in the
All of this is closer than you may think – and some is even happening
With transportation becoming more connected and software-defined, our
focus is expanding beyond in-vehicle connectivity to end-to-end
connectivity. From the assembly line to in-vehicle services on the
highway to all the places vehicles go – dealerships, service lanes, gas
stations, EV charging stations, logistics hubs, and more – we’re focused
on meeting the evolving needs of a connected transportation ecosystem.
The road to next-gen transportation is paved with 5G.
5G is the key driver enabling this end-to-end connectivity and
user-experience in transportation. It’s powering the automated robotics
in factories where vehicles are built. It’s enabling enterprises to
track and manage their fleets and assets. And it could mean faster and
safer port operations.
On the road, 5G is paving the way for better and safer transportation.
Vehicles are becoming computers on wheels made increasingly intelligent
with 5G-powered technologies like IoT, vehicle-to-vehicle communication,
and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. For example, when a driver
slams on the brakes, the vehicle could send a warning message to the car
behind it in near real-time. Or vehicles could interact with road
infrastructure around them, like smart intersections, to improve traffic
As 5G expands, it will be able to support massive IoT connections at
scale, allowing vehicles to connect with nearly everything around them.
Today, there are more than 125 million connected cars worldwide,
including more than 55 million on the AT&T network.1 By 2030, 2.5
billion connected cars are expected worldwide, with data consumption per
car expected to increase 20x. As transportation becomes increasingly
connected, the need for 5G is clear.
Driving on the edge
already laying the groundwork for next-gen transportation with our 5G
“edge zones.” We’ve rolled out 10 with 2 more planned before end of
year. These network edge zones are part of the massive infrastructure
we’ve put in place to support a more connected transportation ecosystem.
The zones combine 5G standalone core with other advanced technologies to
bring network services closer to the user, allowing for faster response
times when accessing data. These faster response times are what will
really allow critical use cases like assisted driving and hazard
avoidance to come to life.
Our goal here is to deliver customizable network services based on
different use cases. For example, a fast response time is more important
for a self-driving tractor or driverless crane than it is for a device
streaming video in the backseat of a car. In the case of infotainment
and over-the-air vehicle software updates, bandwidth is more important.
And other use cases, like safety features, need to take precedence
including enhanced security against cybersecurity threats that could
affect its performance. These specialized networks services tap into
5G’s strengths – low latency, greater security, precision location
capabilities, and more.
Our roadmap for the future
Every journey begins with a roadmap, and we have a strong one in place.
With our experience and leadership in the connected car space, including
off-road vehicles, we have a solid foundation to build upon. We have
relationships with dozens of automakers, connect more vehicles in the
U.S. than any other wireless provider, and cover more highways2 and
roads3 than any other carrier.
Our eyes are focused on the road ahead as we look to serve the
transportation industry as a whole. That includes connecting, securing
and enabling vehicles, the software running on them, and the systems
that power them, wherever on our network they are located.
We hope you’ll join us for the ride.