The connectivity will be available from June, ahead of the first phase of the mobile network operator’s 5G roll-out in some of the major UK cities later this year.
Mobile network operator O2 has announced it is to be the public and private network provider of 5G connectivity for the testing and development of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology at Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK county of Bedfordshire.
It reports that 5G connectivity will be available to Millbrook from June 2019, using its 2.3 GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum, ahead of the first phase of its 5G roll-out in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London later this year.
The on-site network consists of 59 sites and 89 small cells and is operated by British wireless solution provider Dense Air. Under a 12-month agreement with the AutoAir project, O2 will integrate the sites and small cells into its public infrastructure.
The AutoAir 5G project is made up of a number of different partners from across the digital communications and automotive sectors and has received a further £1.8m in funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) taking the total project investment from the government to nearly £6m. Matched industry funding totals more than £4.5m.
The group aims to accelerate the adoption of connected and self-driving technology in the UK, via trials supported by members including Dense Air, Airspan Networks, Millbrook, Blu Wireless, Real Wireless, the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre and the R&D arm of motorsport racing team McLaren. Engineering firm Atkins has also recently signed an agreement to lend its design and engineering expertise to the project.
“If implemented properly, 5G has the potential to drive economic growth, create jobs and enable a new host of technologies – including self-driving vehicles"
The low-latency and high-capacity of 5G allows for vehicles to transmit large amounts of data, including 4K video, to intelligent cloud-based transort systems, which have the potential to improve road safety and help traffic authorities to monitor and manage traffic flow.
Earlier this year during tests at Millbrook, a McLaren sports car received and sent data at 1 Gbit/s while driving round the site at 160mph, and the trial also saw real-time UltraHD 4K video-sharing between a network of moving vehicles.
“5G will play a key role in how our country develops over the next few years," said Brendan O’Reilly, O2’s chief technology officer. “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.”
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