One of the key benefits of 5G could be the potential to revolutionise transport and cities, making cars driverless and monitoring and eliminating congestion, and a newly announced Smart City Mobility Centre could have a big hand in that.
This is to be Europe’s first multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre, and it will be based in the UK. Specifically, at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus, with driverless capable vehicle testing set to be carried out on the University of Warwick’s campus in Coventry and Warwickshire.
The Centre will be used to design and engineer state-of-the-art driverless-capable electric vehicle prototypes, using modular architectures.
Once created, these will be tested in real world conditions, with the help of a 5G network built specially for this purpose and hosted on the University of Warwick’s main campus.
It’s hoped that these vehicles – which will be created by the WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) and Jaguar Land Rover engineers – could help eliminate congestion, emissions and road traffic accidents when used within smart cities.
Ultimately, the Smart City Mobility Centre aims to “play a significant role in transforming the future of UK transport.”
That’s a lofty goal, but perhaps a realistic one, given how advanced the Centre itself sounds. As WMG Chairman Professor Lord Bhattacharyya explains:
“This is the first time in any country that such a comprehensive system is being designed and tested. This will help integrate plans for transport systems for the future that have the potential to bring significant economic benefits to transform and improve the lives of a great many people who could benefit from even safer, less congested, and more environmentally sustainable transport.”
To achieve its goals, the Smart City Mobility Centre will draw on a new £20 million UK Mobility Data Institute being created by WMG, the WMCA (West Midlands Combined Authority)’s development of a multi-city 5G testbed, and expertise in battery technology which will be developed by the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.
So it sounds like the Smart City Mobile Centre has a very strong base to build upon, but it’s not alone in developing and testing smarter and driverless vehicles. O2 for example is also working towards autonomous vehicle trials. Vodafone Ireland has also been working on connected car technology, and the WMG itself has already successfully set a 5G communications speed record to a low speed autonomous vehicle.