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Quectel drives forward into automotive industry with comprehensive smart modules portfolio

A lot of attention is being given to self-driving and autonomous vehicles but it’s mostly hype and these remain years away from reality. Across the globe, different markets demand different capabilities from automotive connectivity, but standardization and the arrival of new apps are driving developments.

“Today’s automotive industry priorities depend on the region they are operating in,” says Manfred Lindacher, the vice president of global sales automotive international at Quectel. “With 5G and autonomous driving, we see demand from China mainly around 5G. The background is that the Chinese network is currently supporting LTE in Cat 4 or Cat 6 flavours. China skipped more or less all of the LTE Advanced steps that most of the European or North American network operators have taken. This means that when you are looking into global RFQ today you will see that typically for the USA, European and North American markets there are LTE requirements, but China is on a clear path to pick up very quickly with 5G devices.”

China has also clarified standardization which aids manufacturers because they know there will be a consistent approach. “The government made a very clear directive to use cellular V2X as a standard and they have been keen to test and included a lot of detail in the trials,” adds Lindacher. “It’s a little bit different if you look at Europe, or if you look at North America. In these regions we are still in a situation where even the technology has not been chosen. This is currently limiting the willingness of carmakers in both regions to take a decision because it might be the wrong one. Investments into R&D might be lost money if they are made on the wrong technology.”

Quectel is a relatively new entrant to the automotive market but Lindacher thinks that puts it in a strong position to provide a new perspective and to take its technological leadership from other markets into the automotive sector. “Four years ago, it was a very clear management decision for Quectel to address the automotive vertical,” he says. “Quectel first did a very, very intensive investigation and decided to set up a dedicated product line to develop dedicated automotive products based on automotive chipsets from Qualcomm and at the end, implement the necessary processes. We are working not only in China, but also in Europe and North America with several tier one OEMs and they really appreciate that we took the time to understand the standards and the needs of this industry.”

The Quectel automotive module portfolio is now comprehensive. “We cover the entire range of connectivity scenarios starting with entry-level telematics requirements, which are typically LTE Cat 4 offerings for mass markets and closely address the market trend at the moment,” Lindacher adds. “We have invested quite a bit in the development of LTE Advanced and 5G modules as well, which are coming to market right now. And we have already won the first customers for our automotive portfolio.”

For more insight and discussion on the global automotive market, listen to our “Build a Smarter World” podcast series with Manfred Lindacher, vice president of global sales automotive international at Quectel