UK University Installs Europe’s First Auto 5G Test Base

UK university researchers are claiming to have installed Europe’s first driverless car targeted 5G user equipment test bed.

A team from the University of Warwick has embarked on a project to test performance parameters of 5G connectivity applied to autonomous technologies. The project is run by the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and the equipment will be installed into driverless vehicles being tested on the Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) testbed on the university campus, to share sensor data with other vehicles and the roadside infrastructure.

Researchers believe that, with the expected roll-out of 5G functions on existing wireless telecommunication networks, the time is right to test the connectivity’s potential for the automotive industry. The project hopes to assess performance testing of high throughput, low latency CAV use as one of their key research focusses.

Testing will include remote driving and vehicular perception through the sharing of sensor data with other vehicles and the roadside infrastructure. WMG also aims to enhance the quality of future mobility services by exploring how to stream infotainment content for CAV passengers over a 5G link. The groups says its test equipment is fully compliant with Release 15 of the 5G technology standard developed by the 3GPP. It can emulate full user equipment operation and test real-time performance of 5G wireless connections to external base stations.

The team of researchers is led by Dr Matthew Higgins, Associate Professor at WMG, who said: “Crucial to our research strategy is the ability to understand and demonstrate the potential of 5G communications systems to our project partners early in their product development cycle. NI’s latest 5G test solution enables us to conduct standard-compliant, real-time 5G link performance tests inside both a controlled lab environment as well as outdoors in campus trials before commercial hardware is available.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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