Autonomous vehicle developer Aurrigo says it has become one of the first companies in the UK to benefit from a new technology partnership between Vodafone and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The developer has been powering its three Auto-Shuttles – used in the recent trials on roads in Cambridge – with AWS Wavelength and Distributed Edge Computing from Vodafone, in order to deliver ultra-low latency and expansive bandwidth.
Paired with Vodafone’s 5G network, the company says this is an important breakthrough in the driverless vehicle arena and moves it a step closer to removing the human safety supervisor from its pods and shuttles, which are being tested and operated in more than five countries across the world.
“AWS Wavelength, Vodafone 5G and MEC technologies allow us to monitor our autonomous vehicles in real time, via safe and secure communications,” explained Simon Brewerton, CTO at Coventry-based Aurrigo.
“The assured high-bandwidth connectivity between multiple vehicles, the central control room and our servers supports critical uses such as remote supervision and first-person video feeds. This is a paradigm shift in reliability, speed and capacity compared with the previous connectivity we had access to, and we look forward to working with the two global leaders to really maximize the potential of their complementary technology on future trials.”
Cambridge was an important milestone for Aurrigo. The trial – run in partnership with Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and Smart Cambridge – marked the first time in the UK a company had undertaken testing of a custom-made autonomous vehicle capable of carrying passengers on a main road surrounded by other traffic, including cars, lorries, vans, bikes and pedestrians.
It was also the first time Aurrigo engineers had been able to tap into Vodafone’s Distributed Edge Computing, which provides significantly better one-way latency of 25ms to 30ms compared with 70ms to 80ms with the normal cloud.
Brewerton noted, “Low latency and high bandwidth combine to guarantee an exceptional level of performance from our shuttles and a backend service that is seamless and connected. The power of Vodafone Distributed Edge Computing and AWS Wavelength has been crucial to the success of the Cambridge trial and has given us confidence that we can move forward with more testing and the important next step of operating without a human supervisor. This really is a giant leap in ‘secure connectivity’ and we are delighted our project was chosen as the first in the UK to benefit.”