UK proving ground to test 5G for autonomous vehicles

| Environmental Testing

Millbrook proving ground to become 5G test bed for CAVs

Millbrook will play a significant role in the development of low latency, high bandwidth 5G wireless networks necessary for higher levels of vehicle autonomy.

Millbrook will become a crucial partner in the recently announced AutoAir project to bring 5G technology to the automotive and technology industries and accelerate the validation and development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). The AutoAir project brings together a large number of industry’s 5G players and is anchored by the work at Surrey University’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC).

In October 2017, Millbrook announced that it had successfully bid to become one of the main 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 a major UK 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. 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: “We are delighted to be working with Millbrook on this project. It 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.”

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.

Alex Burns, President of Millbrook, says: “We are delighted to be supporting the AutoAir project. The facilities here at Millbrook are uniquely suitable for this type of testing and our Proving Ground in the UK is already being used for testing a spectrum of CAV technologies. With Millbrook’s ongoing investment in ADAS and CAV test infrastructure, the addition of the 5G capability will create one the world’s most comprehensive CAV test facilities.”

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