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O2 5G technology to be used for driverless trials in London

The mobile operator has signed an agreement for its technology to be used for connected and autonomous testing at London’s Smart Mobility Living Lab.

The 5G technology will be used at London's advanced CAV testbed
The 5G technology will be used at London's advanced CAV testbed

Mobile network operator O2 will enable London’s Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) to use its 5G technology to test driverless vehicles on roads in Greenwich and at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

O2’s 3.4GHz 5G-ready spectrum will allow car manufacturers, self-driving technology companies, start-ups and public organisations involved in the Living Lab project to test autonomous cars in a real-world environment.


Reducing congestion and emissions

The lab brings together experts from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), urban innovation company, DG Cities, Cisco and Loughborough University.

Research carried out for O2’s report, The Value of 5G for Cities and Communities, predicted that a 5G road management system could reduce the time motorists spend stuck in traffic by 10 per cent, save the economy £880 million a year, and reduce CO2 emissions by 370,000 metric tonnes per year.

O2 said the network will allow large amounts of data, including 4K video, to transmit almost instantly to intelligent cloud-based transport systems, which are expected to improve road safety and help to monitor and manage traffic flow.

“At O2 we’re determined to help businesses of all sizes access the potential of 5G mobile technology,” said Brendan O’Reilly, O2’s chief technology officer.

“We know that by powering the transport sector we can make a real difference to consumers by reducing traffic congestion, making journeys safer and faster.”

“The ‘connected’, in connected and autonomous vehicles is critically important as it enables advanced safety features”


Research from the SMLL shows that over a third of industry leaders from the transport, technology and automotive industries think investment in strengthening the UK’s digital infrastructure is a key step for making self-driving cars commercially available in the UK.

“Connected and autonomous vehicles are an emerging technology with the potential to address some of the key challenges cities face,” said Trevor Dorling, managing director of DG Cities. “The ‘connected’, in connected and autonomous vehicles is critically important as it enables advanced safety features such as vulnerable road user alerts or dangerous intersection warnings to work, making city streets safer.

“5G underpins these use cases and offers further benefits to people and businesses. This latest collaboration with O2 and SMLL will enable us to better understand the potential applications of this new technology.”


UK 5G roll-out

Last month, O2 switched on its 5G network across the UK, starting in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds. The roll-out will reach a total of 20 towns and cities in 2019. Over the last year, O2 has been working to provide 5G connectivity for trials across the UK testing and developing CAV technology.

In July, O2 announced its Smart Ambulance trial to revolutionise patient treatment and reduce hospital numbers. The trial, which began this month, involves equipping a standard ambulance with devices and connectivity, transforming the vehicle into a unique remote consultation room.

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