Telefonica’s O2 UK launched what it claimed was the first commercial laboratory in the country using both 5G and satellite communications to test connected and automated vehicles (CAVs).
The laboratory, which has been developed as part of a four-year trial programme supported by the operator and the European Space Agency, is now open to companies looking to explore connectivity solutions for CAVs, O2 stated.
It has been named the Darwin SatCom Lab, and will be based in the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
Using both 5G and satellite connectivity, companies are invited to test proof of concepts using two electric cars, which O2 converted into CAVs with LIDAR sensors, allowing them to be controlled from the laboratory and driven around the campus.
O2 explained satellite would play a “crucial role” in the extension of 5G, particularly to provide seamless connectivity to remote and harder-to-reach areas for trains and road vehicles.
Within the facility, Nokia has provided the 5G equipment, while the geosynchronous communications satellites are from Spanish operator Hispasat.
Derek McManus, COO of O2, said opening the lab was the “next step in getting autonomous vehicles on the road and making UK’s transport network greener”.
O2’s autonomous vehicle development follows news from rival Vodafone UK, which struck a partnership with vehicle specialist Aurrigo in August to offer a driverless transport service at a sporting event using its 4G network.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back