While it sounds futuristic to jump into your self-driving car and take a nap, tackle some work, or simply admire the view out the window, autonomous vehicles are increasingly becoming a reality. Autonomous and electric vehicles will lead to a safer, less congested future for all. General Motors is striving to make this vision a reality, and to get there, every minute counts.

Today, we announced that General Motors is the first automaker to deploy Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul for vehicle performance testing, which can significantly reduce testing time. Performance testing and vehicle development requires large amounts of data to move between systems quickly.

Now, with Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul for vehicle-to-trackside connectivity, GM engineers can capture development data from vehicle sensors in real time—and adjust the vehicle on the track. This approach is helping GM shorten testing cycles and ultimately leading to improved time to market for technical innovations.

The need for speed and agility is driving innovation everywhere

GM’s innovative process is one more way that reliable, fiber-like wireless is transforming our world. Mining companies are taking workers out of harm’s way by letting them control heavy equipment from temperature-controlled offices. At ports and terminals like La Spezia Container Terminal and Malta Freeport Terminals, autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) operate continuously even in bad weather. The trend is snowballing: 50% of industrial transformation leaders have autonomous plant initiatives.

Looking under the hood of Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul

Connecting assets isn’t always easy. Fiber isn’t available everywhere. It can be too expensive to deploy and maintain. And moving assets can’t tolerate a dropped connection or latency—a glitch could jeopardize safety or the company’s bottom line. These situations are where Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul shines because it brings fiber-like performance anywhere.

Introduced in 2005 by Fluidmesh Networks, which Cisco acquired in 2020, Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul provides fiber-like performance in places like ports, mines, railways, and theme parks. Drones, too. It has the bandwidth (up to 500Mbps) to transmit big data like vehicle telemetry or streaming video. Ultra-low latency (<10 milliseconds) to safely control high-value assets like factory robots and quay-side cranes at ports. The availability (99.99%) to avoid revenue loss or safety risks from dropped connections. This includes Zero-loss handoffs when assets move between coverage areas. Besides performance, Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul is as simple to deploy as Wi-Fi. And unlike private and public LTE, it uses free spectrum. No monthly service-provider fees.

A growing need

As we return to the office after a long pause, I’m craving a safer, faster, and more environmentally sustainable commute. GM’s vision—zero emissions, zero crashes, zero congestion—strikes a chord. And the sooner, the better. By shortening engineering cycles with vehicle-to-trackside connectivity, Ultra-reliable Wireless Backhaul is speeding that vision along.

Learn more

Press release: Cisco and General Motors combine forces for the Future of Connectivity in Cars

Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul



Patty Medberry

Senior Manager, Product Marketing

Cisco IoT