Connected and autonomous vehicle technology sees UK 5G trial

connected and autonomous vehicle
© iStock/metamorworks

Millbrook Proving Ground, a UK connected and autonomous vehicle testing and development facility, is set to begin trialling 5G connectivity.

Network operator O2 has announced it will provide 5G network connection to Millbrook from June 2019, in advance of its wider 5G rollout across the UK’s capitals – London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff – later in the year. Early trials of 5G networks at the facility have seen vehicles transmit data in large quantities and at high speeds in order to facilitate smart traffic operation by providing real-time information on traffic flows and potential hazards. In a trial in early 2019, a McLaren sports car was able to both send and receive data at rates of up to one gigabit per second, while travelling at speeds of up to 160 miles per hour (257 kilometres per hour); and a fleet of vehicles connected to the same network was able to share UltraHD 4K video in real time.

O2 is providing 5G connectivity for connected and autonomous vehicle testing in partnership with the AutoAir 5G scheme, which aims to boost the widespread adoption of smart transport solutions, including connected mobility and self-driving vehicles. Members of AutoAir, which operates with a budget of just under £10.5 million (€12.15 million) from government funding and private investment, include Millbrook Proving Ground, MacLaren Applied Technologies; and the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey.

Brendan O’Reilly, chief technology officer of O2, said: “5G will play a key role in how our country develops over the next few years. If implemented properly, 5G has the potential to drive economic growth, create jobs and enable a new host of technologies – including self-driving vehicles. That’s why we’re delighted to be supporting the trial activity at Millbrook, alongside ambitious partners who share our vision of building a truly mobile Britain.”

5G network connectivity is beginning to roll out across the UK: Vodafone began a pilot scheme earlier this month which saw 5G connections tested by passengers at Birmingham’s New Street Station.

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