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(Photo: Volkswagen Group)

Three German automakers have joined forces with telecommunications and IT companies to accelerate the commercial availability of 5G mobile connectivity.

The automakers - Audi, BMW and Daimler - have formed the "5G Automotive Association" together with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm. The group's aim is to test and promote 5G and agree on standards for it.

Automakers need 5G to support their goal of putting driverless cars on the road sometime in the next decade. Autonomous vehicles need to be able to send and receive large amounts of data almost instantly, which is impossible with the current 4G or LTE standard.

By adopting the 5G standard, networks will be able to handle much more data, connect many more devices, reduce latency and bring new levels of reliability, the association said in a press release.

"Next-generation mobile networks will take car-to-x connectivity to a new level," Alfons Pfaller, head of infotainment development at Audi, said.

The 5G association, which is open to additional members, expects, among other things, to run joint projects that can result in integrated solutions and large-scale pilots and trial deployments.