Why sustainable transportation needs 5G connectivity and digitalisation

Decarbonising transportation through electrification is critical to helping companies and economies meet net-zero emissions targets. Fortunately, three forces are combining to make this vision for sustainable transportation a reality: connectivity, digitalisation, and cross-sector collaboration.

In a recent “fireside chat” on the topic of sustainable transportation, Erik Ekudden, CTO of Ericsson, and Christian Levin, CEO of Scania, discussed the importance of 5G connectivity and digitalisation in helping companies meet their net-zero goals. This subject is critical to both companies. Ericsson is committed to halving carbon emissions by 2030 while Scania’s electrification commitment stipulates that half its vehicle sales are to be battery-electric vehicles (BEV) by 2030.

During their discussion, Levin identified 5G connectivity from Ericsson as fundamentally important to enabling Scania’s future transportation model. This is because a great deal of information will need to flow during the transition to sustainable transportation – from the digital support of electric vehicles, to providing customers with information on where to charge their vehicles and how to optimise the charging process. The connectivity and access to fast data enabled by Ericsson is already proving invaluable to Scania, underpinning R&D processes that have resulted in its latest fuel-efficient engine platform.

Levin added that his business is finding “more and more” use cases for leveraging data, whether that be improving products, better assisting customers or using geo-location tracking.

5G connectivity also supports the broader role for digitalisation in enabling sustainable transportation. For Ericsson and Scania, digitalisation holds the various components of electrified transportation together. One takeaway from the debate on this topic is that as the world moves to a sustainable transportation ecosystem all players will need to collaborate more closely, including communications technology providers like Ericsson, vehicle manufacturers like Scania, and the energy and grid companies that will provide the power infrastructure.

As Levin explains: “We should see [digitalisation] as a glue that is holding the different systems together…without this glue, we will not be able to do the transition.”

So, how exactly can companies from different industries best support one another? According to Ekudden and Levin, what’s needed is a change in business logic, moving away from supplier-buyer relationships to true partnerships, while standardising on the very latest in connectivity technologies such as 5G. This approach has proven to be a winning strategy in many industries by accelerating technology development and will now prove vital as the world transitions to more sustainable transportation.

Ekudden explains: “It’s super important to be early on the latest technology but also to put new requirements on the next generation of that platform because that guides some of the competitiveness of the offering [being brought] to market.”

As transportation moves to an electrified future, companies like Ericsson and Scania are building new partner ecosystems and leveraging the latest in network connectivity and digitalisation to innovate. Together, Ericsson and Scania are committed to mitigating climate change with new technology and the result will be a transportation system that is exponentially better for our planet.

Click here to watch Ericsson and Scania’s fireside chat in full.

Ericsson and Scania are members of the Exponential Roadmap, a science-based, cross-sector initiative to accelerate exponential climate action and solutions. Learn more here.

5G, Digital Transformation, Transportation and Logistics Industry