UK’s first 5G test centre for connected cars to be launched

Posted on 13 Mar 2018 by Jonny Williamson

UK-based vehicle test and validation services provider, Millbrook is joining an initiative to bring 5G technologies to the automotive and technology industries and accelerate development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). 

Millbrook is to become a partner in a project to set up a 5G test centre for the automotive and technology industries to accelerate the development CAVs. 
Millbrook is to become a partner in a project to set up a 5G test centre for the automotive and technology industries to accelerate the development CAVs.

The AutoAir project brings together a large number of industry’s leading 5G players and is anchored by the work at Surrey University’s 5G Innovation Center (5GIC).

In October 2017, Millbrook announced that it had successfully bid to become one of the leading test beds for CAV testing in the UK.

It is working in collaboration with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s centre for Remote Applications for Challenging Environments (RACE), as part of the project co-funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) through Meridian.

With significant further investment in a range of ADAS test capabilities, this most recent announcement reinforces Millbrook’s position as the UK’s leading test and validation facility for the full range of CAV and ADAS requirements.

The AutoAir project is a consortium of partners lead by Airspan Networks and is to be hosted at Millbrook. It is a unique, accelerated development programme for 5G technology and is based on 5G New Radio (NR) small cells that operate on a “Neutral Host” basis.

Improvement of the economics for 5G network 

The shared neutral host platform allows multiple public and private 5G operators simultaneously to 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: “[Working with Millbrook on this project] 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.

“Millbrook’s facilities are unique in the UK and there was no other obvious partner to deliver the capabilities which Millbrook will offer as part of this project.”

As reported, the project will see Millbrook build a fibre backbone and 23 “Small Cell” base station sites. The test bed will allow CAV developers access to Gigabit/s, low latency, wide-area 5G wireless infrastructure that will work seamlessly across the entire proving ground at Millbrook.

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.

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