The initial installation of the UK’s first independent 5G-enabled infrastructure for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) at Millbrook is close to completion. The technology has been commissioned as part of Millbrook’s role in AutoAir, the world-leading consortium bringing 5G capabilities to the transport and technology industries, accelerating CAV development and validation in the UK.
The installation of the 5G-enabled network at Millbrook Proving Ground is scheduled for completion this quarter and will be launched in February. All the masts for the antennas needed to transmit 5G radio data are in place and in the process of being connected, 19km of fibre-optic cabling has been laid and the wireless equipment is being deployed. 23 ‘small cell’ base station sites will go live in February enabling the first live demonstrations of the technology during a launch event, with another 15 to follow.
Testing of new autonomous vehicle technology
When complete, CAV developers will 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 three to level five autonomous vehicles, which require high speed, real-time connectivity to compare the ‘real world’ outcomes with the decision-making simulation.
The AutoAir project began in April 2018. The consortium, led by Airspan Networks and hosted at Millbrook, is a unique, accelerated development programme 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.