Following the rollout of O2’s 5G’s network last month, the mobile operator will allow car manufacturers, self-driving technology companies, start-ups, and public organisations to use the technology to road test autonomous vehicles (AVs) in London.
O2’s 3.4GHz 5G-ready spectrum will allow organisations involved in the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) project – TRL, DG Cities, Cisco and Loughborough University – to test AVs on roads in Greenwich and at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
According to O2, the network will allow large amounts of data, including 4K video, to transmit almost instantly to intelligent cloud-based transport systems, which are expected to improve road safety and help to monitor and manage traffic flow.
Brendan O’Reilly, O2’s chief technology officer, said: “At O2 we’re determined to help businesses of all sizes across the potential of 5G mobile technology,” said “We know that by powering the transport sector we can make a real difference to consumers by reducing traffic congestion, making journeys safer and faster.
“We’re excited to be working with the teams at the SMLL, who are driving forward our understanding how this next-generation technology will fundamentally change the fabric of the cities in which we live and work as well as creating entirely new ways to travel.”
According to O2, a 5G road management system could reduce the time drivers spend in traffic by 10% save the economy £880m a year, and reduce CO2 emissions by 370,000 metric tonnes a year.
Trevor Dorling, managing director of DG Cities, added: “Connected and autonomous vehicles are an emerging technology with the potential to address some of the key challenges cities face.
“The ‘connected’, in connected and autonomous vehicles is critically important as it enables advanced safety features such as vulnerable road user alerts or dangerous intersection warnings to work, making city streets safer.
“5G underpins these use cases and offers further benefits to people and businesses. This latest collaboration with O2 and SMLL will enable us to better understand the potential applications of this new technology.”
Last month, O2 switched on its 5G network across the UK, starting in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds. The roll-out will reach a total of 20 towns and cities in 2019.
Over the last year, O2 has been working to provide 5G connectivity for trials across the UK testing and developing CAV technology.