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BMW says femtocell technology will reduce electromagnetic radiation in the car (Photo: BMW)

BMW is addressing the problem of weak cellular reception in cars and is unveiling a "Vehicular Small Cell" research project at this week's Mobile World Congress.

The Munich-based premium car maker said it is working with specialist companies peiker acustic and Nash Technologies to reduce the signal-shielding effects that vehicle bodies can have on mobile reception in cars. To achieve this, it is equipping a test vehicle with a so-called femtocell, a mini cellular base station specificially designed for mobile in-car applications.

The research vehicle, which is being unveiled at the annual MWC in Barcelona, provides optimal access to cellular networks via the vehicle aerial, BMW said. It also significantly reduces electromagnetic radiation inside the vehicle.

"The Vehicular Small Cell will allow our customers to enjoy uninterrupted in-car usage of all mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and other connected devices of the future," BMW project manager Peter Fertl said in a press statement.

MWC is the biggest annual trade fair for the global mobile industry. The exhibition has, in recent years, attracted a growing number of auto industry players, as connectivity plays a more prominent role in personal mobility.