What does a large automaker that\u2019s morphing into a mobile-technology company and heavily investing in autonomous vehicles need to add to its ecosystem? Probably connectivity, and that\u2019s likely why Chinese car giant Geely says it will be building its own satellite data network.\nA need for \u201chighly accurate,\u00a0autonomous driving\u00a0solutions,\u201d is part of what\u2019s driving the strategy, the company says in a press release. Geely \u2013 the largest car maker in China and whose assets include Volvo and a stake in Lotus \u2013 has begun building a test facility in Taizhou City where it will develop satellite models, the company says.\n\n\u201cThe creation of a truly smart, three-dimensional mobility ecosystem,\u201d as the company describes its Geespace project, will include precise navigation, cloud computing and high-speed Internet functions. Geely is investing $326 million in the project according to Reuters, citing a statement from the company.\nOver-the-air updating of vehicle software is a principal reason data networks will become prevalent in automobile technology. Historically, car companies haven\u2019t worried much about the speedy updating of end-user\u2019s systems, in part because they\u2019ve liked getting customers back into the dealership to upsell service options and pitch new cars. A leisurely software patch while the customer hangs around drinking warm coffee and watching daytime soaps suits that purpose. However, autonomous cars are a different story: The safety of self-driving cars can\u2019t tolerate software vulnerabilities.\nControl over vehicle positioning also comes into play. Knowing where the car is and where obstacles are is more important than in traditional vehicles. Lane-change and accident avoidance, for example, are autonomous-vehicle features that require high levels of accuracy.\n\u201cThe\u00a0Geespace low-orbit satellite network will offer much higher\u00a0centimeter-accurate\u00a0precision,\u201d Geely says, comparing its proposed constellation with the U.S. government-owned Global Positioning System.\nData processing, artificial intelligence and infotainment onboard the vehicles all need fat networks, too. Former Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at a talk I attended a few years ago that he thought cars would soon create 4,000 GB of data per hour of driving because of the number of sensors, such as cameras, that they\u2019ll be equipped with.\nThe Geely private satellite network is the first of its kind for an industrial use and joins a trend in private wireless networking. Private, terrestrial 5G networks and private LTE networks allow companies to control their own data and uptime, rather than relying on service providers. Mercedes-Benz is reportedly working on a private 5G network for privacy and security.\n\u201cAs vehicles\u00a0become more connected and integrated into the\u00a0Internet of\u00a0Things ecosystem, the\u00a0demand for data has grown exponentially,\u201d Geely says.\nGeely will begin launching the Geespace satellites by the end of 2020.