UK launches its first 5G-connected proving ground for autonomous vehicle testing

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Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK has launched the country’s first 5G-enabled infrastructure for the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) with a live demonstration.

In partnership with the AutoAir consortium, the proving ground tested the technical capabilities of the fifth-generation network with a fleet of vehicles traveling on a high-speed circuit streaming live 4K video transmitted via 23 small cell base station sites at speeds up to 1Gbps.

“The installation of the UK’s first independent 5G network at Millbrook demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that our facilities are at the forefront of automotive development. The infrastructure launched today (Feb 13) enables our customers to test and develop CAV systems to a quality and level of detail never before realized in this country,” said Alex Burns, president of Millbrook.

CAV developers now have access to a low latency, wide-area wireless infrastructure that will work seamlessly across the entire Millbrook Proving Ground. This capability is crucial for the validation and testing of Level 3 to Level 5 autonomous vehicles, which require high speed, real-time connectivity to compare real-world outcomes with simulation.

The infrastructure enables self-driving vehicle testing to be carried out in a secure environment using a private, tuneable mobile network. Developers can simulate weak and strong cell signal and understand the impact of hills and other terrain in a single location, while having access to all data generated during testing.

CAV developers can also create virtual events using augmented and virtual reality for vehicles on-track, enabling them to safely test complex scenarios and edge cases. The 5G-enabled infrastructure makes it possible to monitor, gather and distribute vehicle test data such as video, telematics, tracking and control in real time. Applications include rail, infotainment, cybersecurity, simulation, network location trials and industrial Internet of Things (IoT).

The AutoAir project began in April 2018. The consortium, led by Airspan Networks and hosted at Millbrook, is a unique, accelerated development program for 5G technology. Based on both 4G and 5G small cells that operate on a ‘neutral host’ basis, the infrastructure can simultaneously be used by multiple public and private mobile operators, making the network more economical.

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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