Major autonomous vehicle project launched at Millbrook
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

The AutoAir consortium has launched its 5G test bed for connected autonomous vehicles, at an event taking place at Millbrook proving ground this week.

The event included demonstrations of a variety of functions, including the transmission of data at ‘5G-like speeds’ of 1Gbps. It also gave attendees the opportunity to view project infrastructure, such as 23 small cell base station sites situated around Millbrook’s high-speed testing track.

Keynote speeches on the day came from key figures in the development of 5G, including CTO at Ofcom Mansoor Hanif and director of the 5G Innovation Centre, University of Surrey, Rahim Tafazolli.

Speaking of the testbed, a spokesperson for the project said: “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 three to level five autonomous vehicles, which require high speed, real-time connectivity to compare the 'real world' outcomes with the decision-making simulation.”

The spokesperson continued: “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 signals and understand the impact of hills and other terrain in a single location, while having access to all data generated during testing."

Paul Senior, CSO of Airspan Networks and CEO of Dense Air – both key stakeholders in the roll-out - said: “AutoAir at Millbrook is one of the most ambitious 5G testbeds and trial sites in the world. It is directly tackling the key 5G technology and system design challenges that CAVs create. The project has now completed the deployment of a hyper-dense small cell network that delivers ultra-high capacities, enabling a range of new CAV use cases to be explored. Everyone in the consortium is excited to have reached this important milestone”

The AutoAir project began in April 2018. It is one of six UK government-sponsored 5G testbeds located around the country, looking at a variety of environments and use cases, including tourism, health and social care, and requirements in rural areas.

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