The AutoAir consortium has demonstrated the UK’s only independent 5G-enabled infrastructure for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) for the first time at Millbrook Proving Ground.
AutoAir’s launch event gave stakeholders in CAV development and 5G technology an opportunity to witness the transmission of data at 5G-like speeds of 1Gbps and to understand the technical capabilities of 23 ‘small cell’ base station sites installed at Millbrook. This was demonstrated by a number of vehicles travelling at speed on Millbrook’s high-speed circuit streaming live 4K video back to a screen on a bus that guests were traveling on.
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.
Alex Burns, president of Millbrook, said, “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 enables our customers to test and develop CAV systems to a quality and level of detail never before realized in this country.”