Vodafone has announced a partnership to build a private 5G network for engineering consultancy firm Horiba Mira to test self-driving cars at its English Midlands headquarters.
The 4G and 5G private network will be used by Horiba Mira’s clients, which include automakers, self-driving car makers and their suppliers.
They will use the 5G network, to be built at Horiba Mira’s Nuneaton site, to test, verify and validate driverless car technologies.
The latest generation of mobile data networks promises ultra-low latency, which is crucial for autonomous vehicles to make real-time decisions on the road and communicate with surrounding infrastructure such as traffic lights.
Ultra-fast 5G networks also allow connected cars to communicate with one another in near real-time, which means vehicles can react more quickly to emergency situations and navigate traffic more efficiently.
Horiba Mira is a member of the Automotive Council, the organisation overseeing the UK’s driverless vehicle strategy.
In October Vodafone announced it would deploy 5G on more than 300 miles of key test routes in the West Midlands in a partnership with autonomous vehicle consortium Midlands Future Mobility.
Chris Reeves, head of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies at Horiba Mira, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Vodafone in bringing 5G to our Nuneaton headquarters, which, working alongside automakers around the world over the last decade, puts us at the forefront of developing and verifying cutting-edge driverless technologies.
“As the self-driving industry transitions from developing standalone autonomous vehicles, to delivering self-driving vehicles that can communicate with each other and the surrounding infrastructure, having access to Vodafone’s 5G technology is a huge boost for the sector as a whole. It will enable us to work and collaborate with the industry’s biggest players to ensure their technologies are safe, robust, convenient and efficient to hit our roads in the near future.”
Anne Sheehan, business director at Vodafone UK, said: “Our 5G technology makes self-driving vehicles on our roads not just a possibility, but a reality. This mobile private network will play a huge role in supporting HORIBA MIRA’s cutting edge work on the development and testing of driverless technologies.”
Horiba Mira recently unveiled a driving robot for testing driverless vehicles.