Vodafone Group has been working with a connected car specialist for the past two years, it’s been revealed.
Israeli company Continual is a leading provider of connected car analytics tools, and it recently announced that it had been working with Vodafone Group on a project to “analyse and improve the experience of subscribers travelling on roads”.
In particular, Continual has been working with Vodafone Ireland, which is Ireland’s biggest mobile service provider. The joint research programme has yielded a huge amount of data on road usage throughout Ireland, as well helping to identify things like the amount of data and call minutes used along various routes.
The data yielded by the programme has in turn been used to improve mobile voice and data performance on Ireland’s roads.
“Collaborating with Continual to exploit cutting-edge technologies such as AI, Big Data, and Machine Learning has enabled us to take a further step forward on the journey towards 5G and associated compelling use cases,” said Max Gasparroni, Head of Networks, Vodafone Ireland.
Vodafone Ireland had identified that road experience was one of the biggest areas where AI and big data techniques could improve the customer experience. Given that the operator is preparing for an international 5G rollout, it also realised the value of connected mobility intelligence as a vital building block towards the fully autonomous cars of the future.
Driving towards an autonomous future
We’re hearing more and more about data-gathering and other preparatory work for autonomous car services. Back in August, for example, UK company FiveAI was given the green light to deploy data-gathering cars on the streets of London to help prepare for a future driverless car service.
The company is now in the process of deploying five human-driven cars in Bromley and Croydon to gather data on road layout, topology and traffic flow, as well as driver behaviour. This data will feed back into an autonomous car-sharing service, with a supervised trial set for 2019.
At Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedford, meanwhile, advanced 5G test networks are being deployed with a view to testing connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.
Related: 5G and the Connected Car