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MWC 2019: Ericsson CEO sees Asia, North America winning on 5G

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Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm at MWC 2019


(Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

Asia and North America are leading the way on 5G, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm has said at his Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 keynote in Barcelona.

Ericsson customers will also be ahead of the pack on 5G, Ekholm said on Monday morning. 

“The first [5G] use case is really to cope with the growing data traffic. Data traffic started to grow earlier there in those markets, so you can see that already today that they are a little bit ahead of the rest of the world in their consumption, so that is one of the key reasons — probably more North America,” Ekholm told ZDNet on why those regions are leading.

“China has been very committed to the industrial internet very early on, and seeing industrial applications. So both of those two regions have really pushed ahead to make sure that they get an early deployment, kind of recognising that the sooner you get the network, you are going to get a lot of innovation.

“And those two regions are leading there, and I think we in Europe have been a little bit slower.”

However, it is about more than just smartphones on a high-speed network: 5G will be critical to realise the potential of billions of connected devices across the Internet of Things (IoT), he said, while robotics will dramatically transform work and smart cities capabilities will transform cities across the globe.

“Service providers will need enterprise capabilities to be successful in future; it’s more than selling SIM cards,” Ekholm said.

“Service providers and governments who sit on the sidelines run the risk of being left behind.”

In Schwabmünchen, Germany, Ericsson is working with Deutsche Telekom on 5G manufacturing for “5G-grade automotive”, for instance.

“The high-capacity and low-latency characteristics of 5G will be the key cornerstones of vehicles and transportation,” Ekholm said, also pointing to Ericsson’s connected cars deal with Volvo, and its fleet management deal with Telia.

The networking giant is also working with SoftBank in Japan on artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce network problems and improve customer experience via automated tools with its operations engine.

While saying it is up to each nation to “decide how they drive their national security policy”, Ekholm also spoke out against post-development testing across 5G applications and networks, saying the geopolitical concerns of 5G security runs the risk of slowing down innovation.

“We believe post-development testing runs the risk of creating a false sense of security,” he said.

“It will cost more, so it will be a tax burden on the industry … ultimately, enterprises may have to pay the heavy price for testing.”

Ericsson on Monday also announced the acquisition of the 5G antenna and filters division including 4,000 workers from Kathrein, which is expected to close in Q3 of 2019. Ekholm said it will increase Ericsson’s capabilities in both passive and active antennas.

“With the additional focus on the antenna and filter business led by Kathrein professionals, we will broaden our offering to further optimize site space, which is vital for the introduction of 5G,” Ericsson EVP and head of Business Area Networks Fredrik Jejdling added.

During MWC 2019, Ericsson has also proved the capabilities of 4G-5G spectrum sharing; launched a 100km IoT range extender with Australian carrier Telstra; and announced partnering with Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on 5G banking trials.

MWC 2019 Coverage

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The NTSB is probing another fatal Tesla crash

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Over the years, there have been multiple accidents involving Tesla vehicles that were allegedly operating on Autopilot at the time. Autopilot is Tesla’s semi-autonomous driver assistance tech. To use Autopilot, drivers are supposed to keep their hands on the wheel, but some owners have found ways to defeat that system.

Recently police in Coral Gables, Florida, were called to the scene of an accident involving a Tesla Model 3. The accident occurred on Monday evening of this week and happened in a residential area. According to police, the vehicle was using the Autopilot system at the time of the accident.

After the Model 3 crashed, its battery packs caught fire, and the two deceased occupants were badly burned. The bodies were damaged enough that they haven’t been positively identified at this time. The fatal accident occurred when the Model 3 impacted a tree. After that impact, there was a fire.

The NTSB has confirmed that it has sent three investigators to the area to look into the cause of the fire. This accident isn’t the first allegedly involving Tesla’s Autopilot system that NTSB has investigated. Previously, the NTSB also investigated an accident involving a Tesla that happened in Texas in April.

In that particular accident, police believe no one was in the driver’s seat. Some Tesla owners have discovered how to activate autopilot without being in the driver’s seat. In August, the NHTSA opened a formal probe into Tesla automobiles and its Autopilot driver assistance system after 11 crashes involving Autopilot-equipped vehicles and police and fire vehicles. There have been 11 crashes involving Tesla’s that have led to the death of occupants since 2016. Whether or not autopilot is at fault is unknown.

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Chevrolet Bolt production stoppage extended until mid-October

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GM has announced that it will extend its production stoppage for the Bolt electric vehicle through at least mid-October. The announcement marks an extension of its production stoppage announced in late August due to a massive battery recall for the electric vehicle. The defective battery packs have caused 12 fires.

Most recently, a Bolt caught fire in the owner’s garage, destroying the vehicle, damaging the home, and causing damage to another vehicle stored in the garage at the time. GM has confirmed that Bolt production at the Orion Assembly plant will not commence until at least October 15. The massive battery recall has already cost around $2 billion, and GM says it will recover most of that money from battery supplier LG.

Chevrolet’s latest production stoppage for the Bolt comes in the middle of a massive chip shortage that has forced production on other vehicle assembly lines to stop. Sales and production of the Bolt won’t begin until the automaker has a confirmed fix for the battery issues.

An investigation laid the blame on misaligned robots at the battery assembly factory. According to that report, the misaligned robots caused a torn anode tab placing it closer to the cathode leading to short-circuiting and fires. After another fire that happened this month, GM issued a new warning to owners of the small electric vehicle.

The new warning tells Bolt owners to keep their vehicles at least 50 feet away from homes, offices, and other vehicles. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that any owner who heeds the warning and parks 50 feet away from homes or offices would be able to charge their vehicle, essentially making them useless until a fix is available. Defective battery packs have led to three injuries and multiple fires.

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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L gets over 75 factory Mopar accessories

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As if configuring a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is not confusing enough, Mopar has released over 75 factory-backed accessories for Jeep’s first-ever seven-seat SUV. The highlights include new 21-inch Mopar-specific five-spoke wheels with a Jeep center cap and integrated side steps that install cleanly without drilling holes in your precious Grand Cherokee L.

“The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee L presents a great opportunity for customization and personalization, said Mark Bosanac, North America Vice President, Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care. “ The side steps mentioned above are made of black galvanized stainless steel with a chrome overlay, perfectly matching the premium vibe of the Grand Cherokee L. In addition, the powder-coated finish ensures durable protection against friction, bumps, and UV rays.

The 21-inch Granite Crystal wheels start at $500 each, while the side steps are $750. Other notable accessories include a roof-mount cargo basket ($350) with a 150-pound maximum load capacity, roof-rack crossbars ($300) that allows attachment of all Mopar roof carriers, and a $200 watersport carrier and bike carrier (sold separately) to accommodate kayaks, surfboards, and a bicycle.

Mopar’s rear-seat entertainment system ($1,625) has a roof-mounted DVD player and a 10-inch screen with two Bluetooth headphones to entertain the kids on long journeys. If you have pets, Mopar has a $190 collapsible kennel with a carrying handle. “Across the entire Jeep Grand Cherokee L lineup, we offer 75 factory-backed, quality-tested accessories,” added Bosanac.

Least to say, you won’t be running out of options when buying a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The standard powerplant is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 293 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque, and up to 6,200 pounds of towing. You can have this engine in 2WD or 4WD, and both have an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

However, you can have a 5.7-liter V8 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited, Overland, and Summit 4×4. Pumping out 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, V8-equipped Grand Cherokee L models have a maximum 7,200-pound towing capacity.

If you choose all-wheel-drive, you have three drivetrains to think about: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II. Also, the cabin is configurable with six or seven seats. The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has base prices at$38,690, while the range-topping Summit and Summit Reserve trims are $58,690 and $66,985, respectively.

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