O2 has signed an agreement to provide 5G connectivity for the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) in London.
The government backed connected and autonomous vehicles testbed, based in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, has been created to further test self-driving vehicles to enable safer and more intelligent transport systems. SMLL uses public and private roads in London to create the advanced urban testing environment for autonomous transport systems.
Companies involved in the testbed include TRL, Cisco, DG Cities, London Legacy Development Corporation, Cubic Transportation Systems and Loughborough University.
O2, who will provide the 5G connectivity, a key component in self-driving vehicles, will use its 3.4GHz 5G-ready spectrum to enable car manufacturers, self-driving technology companies, start-ups as well as other private and public organisations involved in the transport ecosystem to test both vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to road communications (V2X) in a real-world environment.
5G will be used in the testing of self-driving vehicles due its lightning fast connectivity speeds, low latency and its ability to connect with many devices at once. The large amount of data from self-driving cars can be transmitted to cloud-based transport systems, which are predicted to improve road safety and help monitor and manage traffic flow.
Brendan O’Reilly, O2’s Chief Technology Officer, said, “At O2 we’re determined to help businesses of all sizes realise the potential of fifth-generation mobile technology. We know that the transport sector is going to be one of the key beneficiaries of 5G – and that the technology has the potential to reduce traffic congestion, as well as making journeys safer and more enjoyable. That’s why we’re excited to be working with the teams at the Smart Mobility Living Lab, who are driving forward our understanding how this next generation technology will fundamentally change the fabric of the cities in which we live and work as well as creating entirely new methods of travel.”
Paul Campion, CEO of TRL, said: “5G is a technology that supports a successful rollout of self-driving cars in the UK. Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) research 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. By working with industry leader O2, we are ensuring that SMLL is not just a real-world testing environment for self-driving cars today; we are future-proofing the testbed so that we can accelerate our customers’ research and development programmes.”
Trevor Dorling, Managing Director of DG Cities, said: “Connected and autonomous vehicles are an emerging technology with the potential to address some of the key challenges cities face. 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.
O2 released its Smart Cities report in 2018 detailing how 5G can benefit citizens whilst making cities function more efficiently and sustainably.