Millbrook to become the UK’s first independent 5G CAV testbed

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Millbrook, in Bedfordshire, UK, is to host 5G mobile test infrastructure as part of the AutoAir project.

The proving ground will become a key partner in the recently announced project, which is to bring 5G technologies to the automotive and technology industries and accelerate the validation and development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

AutoAir brings together a large number of industry’s leading 5G players and is based on the work of the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC).

AutoAir is a consortium of partners lead by Airspan Networks and is to be hosted at Millbrook. It is a unique, accelerated development program for 5G technology based on 5G New Radio (NR) small cells that operate on a “neutral host” basis. The shared neutral host platform enables multiple public and private 5G operators to simultaneously use the same infrastructure, using network slicing, which can radically improve the economics for 5G networks.

Paul Senior, chief strategy officer, Airspan Networks and CEO of Dense Air, said, “We are delighted to be working with Millbrook on this project. It will greatly accelerate and enhance the development and validation of CAVs and the crucial role that 5G networks play in the safe and functional delivery of cutting-edge transport technology.”

The project will see Millbrook build a fiber backbone and 23 “small cell” base station sites. The testbed will enable CAV developers access to gigabit/s, low latency, wide-area 5G wireless infrastructure that will work seamlessly across the entire proving ground. This 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 the decision making simulation.

Millbrook president Alex Burns said, “We are delighted to be supporting the AutoAir project. The facilities here at Millbrook are uniquely suitable for this type of testing and our proving ground in the UK is already being used for testing a spectrum of CAV technologies.”

In October 2017, Millbrook announced that it had successfully bid to become one of the leading testbeds for CAV testing in the UK, working in collaboration with the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s center for Remote Applications for Challenging Environments (RACE), as part of a project co-funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) through Meridian.

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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