06.12.2021 NEWS

Connected and Automated vehicles (CAVs) 5G Testing from Virgin Media O2

5G remains a very hot topic in the mobile world. As we move towards 2022, connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) will play a significant role in future transportation systems and will unlock enormous societal benefits.

Wireless connectivity is one of the underpinning technologies allowing the CAVs to transform from autonomous systems to cooperative entities. Not only is the information exchange between all components of the system fundamental to improving road safety and efficiency, but it also paves the way to a wide spectrum of advanced ITS (Intelligent transportation systems) applications. For connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) to navigate streets in safety, in real-time, they need access to accurate location data. This requires 5G.

Autonomous vehicles will not only need the latest route information to navigate through streets but – to interact with other vehicles and infrastructure constantly – an accurate picture of where all the corresponding sensors are located too. Having a ubiquitous and reliable coverage for safety critical reasons makes it essential to have a full understanding of signal propagation. New objects must be surveyed at 10cm resolution or better. 5G technology will allow for pinpoint precision of the location of sensors to accurately inform these vehicles.
People’s lives depend on the accuracy of this location data and so various companies are working with academia, research organisations, government, and industry to deliver a 5G network in Britain we can be confident in. Virgin Media O2 revealed the latest developments in 5G connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) at an event in London with the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL).

These autonomous vehicles use connected sensors and stream information from one car to another in real time using 5G. A recent event in London showcased Virgin Media O2 and SMLL’s collaboration by using digital capabilities to enable vehicles that reduce emissions and enable smarter driving patterns. The control room showed 24-hour security network monitoring 24 kilometres of road around Greenwich and the Olympic Park.

The SMLL is a company of innovation centre the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), which has invested £25 million in the project along with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and those from the transport and technology sectors. The government has invested £13 million of that figure.

“This is the world’s only real-world test lab in a mega city,” said TRL CEO Paul Campion. “We have the opportunity to bring together all these brains to do something really extraordinary.” SMLL has also teamed up with automobile manufacturer Nissan on a project in which 5G and vehicle- to-infrastructure communications provide messaging and cameras to tell the vehicle about roadworks ahead or pedestrians crossing.

SMLL is planning to add a private 5G network within the facility to enable more testing. “I firmly believe that the capabilities exposed from technologies like 5G and the evolution of that in a mobile space will give us the ability to make real and meaningful changes,” said Virgin Media O2 head of 5G Rob Searle. The CAVs are still in development, but progress is being made with the 5G networks, simulations and local infrastructure put in place.

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