Telco Developing UK AV Trial Network

A major European telco is partnering with a wireless infrastructure company to develop a small cell network for autonomous vehicle trials in central England.

O2 has signed a deal with the Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG) to collaborate on connectivity provision for a 50-mile corridor linking the cities of Birmingham and Coventry that is set to launch in 2020 as part of the Midlands Future Mobility program. The telco says it “will provide engineering support” to the technicians designing the corridor’s small cells. It also plans to “develop advanced communication services” for use along the 50-mile route.

O2 CTO Brendan O’Reilly said: “Following our successful deployment of the UK’s first centralized radio network (C-RAN) in Aberdeen, in partnership with WIG, we will be using this same cutting-edge technology across what we expect to be Europe’s largest fibre-connected small cell network”. WIG CEO Scott Coates claimed the infrastructure developed would “also be open to other mobile operators”, while West Midlands regional mayor Andy Street said he was “delighted to be working with O2 and WIG to test AVs”.

An O2 statement also claimed public sector body Innovate UK‘s AV trial programs for the UK government would “be the largest, most diverse testing environment in the UK, with the deployment of new roadside infrastructure including smart vehicle monitoring, data analytics, and 5G-ready wireless infrastructure”. The telco also claimed the corridor would “lay the foundations for a rapid deployment of 5G connectivity when it becomes available”.

 

 


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