Vodafone looks set to provide a big boost to the UK’s largest real-world Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) testbed, as it has joined Midlands Future Mobility to provide 5G coverage across the test route.
In all - thanks to Vodafone along with the Wireless Infrastructure Group - 80% of the Midlands Future Mobility route will be connected to 5G, which the network claims will make the West Midlands one of the best-connected environments in the country.
5G is a vital component of CAM trials, as due to its high speeds and low latency it could help vehicles make calculations and receive information faster, and therefore avoid collisions, potentially making it literally a life-saver.
Vodafone highlights that the increased bandwidth offered by 5G could also help with the sharing of high resolution images between vehicles and infrastructure, which in turn will help connected and self-driving vehicles to make sense of their environment so they can function without human involvement.
All kinds of roads for all kinds of driving tech
The Midlands Future Mobility route encompasses urban, rural, campus, and highway roads, including parts of Birmingham and Coventry city centres, so it’s a diverse area, ideal for allowing businesses to test all kinds of different driving technologies. These trials should ultimately help vehicles become smarter, leading to safer roads and more predictable delivery and journey times.
Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK, said: “5G will help revolutionise transport on our roads. The ultra-reliability and high bandwidth of 5G will enable new progress for connected and autonomous vehicles, and we are delighted to bring our state-of-the-art 5G network to the Midlands Future Mobility project.”
This is just one of many transport projects involving 5G. Recently for example O2 launched the UK’s first 5G satellite lab to test autonomous cars, while Vodafone for its part has previously teamed up with Ford to build electric cars in a 5G factory.
The West Midlands has also been exploring 5G’s potential prior to this, with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) set to install 5G sensors on key roads in the region, to track transport habits and improve road network planning.