Researchers have set a 5G communications speed record for autonomous vehicles, this being nearly 40 times faster than current fixed line broadband speeds.
Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) hit 2.867 gigabits per second in over-the-air transmissions; this figure equivalent to sending a high definition blockbuster film in less than 10 seconds.
Researchers believe the wireless communications technology could allow autonomous vehicles to rapidly share large quantities of data with each other and with traffic management systems.
This data would reportedly include precise 3D road maps created by LiDAR (similar to radar but using laser light instead of radio waves), high definition video images of the vehicles surroundings, and traffic information. This could enable quicker reactions to changes in traffic movements, enabling a safer and more seamless operation.
Working with an autonomous Pod built by RDM, a Coventry-based manufacturer of level four low speed autonomous vehicles, the team optimised antenna placement both inside the pod, and on roadside infrastructure to conduct the connectivity tests.
These controlled trials are important to better understand the capabilities of 5G in millimetre wave bands, and how vehicle manufacturers must carefully plan and deploy their 5G service and application. This project will also reportedly examine how the dynamics of both the vehicle and the environment impact performance between infrastructure and AVs. The WMG research project is supported by Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG), National Instruments (NI), and HVM Catapult.
Case study: Mazak ‘5G Testbed’
Yamazaki Mazak has been chosen as one of a select few companies to act as a pilot for the deployment of next-generation 5G technology, with a view to improving commercial digital infrastructures and ultimately boosting productivity across UK manufacturing.
Mazak is part of the Worcestershire 5G consortium that has been granted £4.8m in government funding to conduct what’s been dubbed the ‘5G Testbed’ trial, as 5G remains tipped to become the industry standard for connectivity in the future.