Researchers at the University of Warwick’s WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) academic department have set a new 5G communications speed record to an SAE Level 4 low-speed connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) in the pioneer 28GHz millimeter wave band.
During their tests, the WMG research team hit 2.867Gb per second in over-the-air transmissions, which is nearly 40 times faster than current fixed-line broadband speeds. It is equivalent to sending a detailed satellite navigation map of the UK within a single second, or the full contents of a high-definition (HD) blockbuster film in less than 10 seconds.
However, the crucial wireless communications technology is not just being designed to deliver HD content to in-car entertainment systems, but it will allow autonomous vehicles to rapidly share large quantities of data with each other and with traffic management systems. This will include precise 3D road maps created by lidar, high-definition video images of the vehicle’s surroundings, and traffic information.
WMG’s research team of associate professor Dr Matthew Higgins and senior research fellow Dr Erik Kampert used their new 5G mmWave test facility to set the new 5G communications speed record. Working with an autonomous Pod built by RDM, a Coventry-based manufacturer of Level 4 low-speed autonomous vehicles, the team optimized antenna placement both inside the pod and on roadside infrastructure, such as a traffic light.
WMG’s intelligent vehicles research team are using the facility with a range of partners and industrial collaborators on connectivity, verification and validation, and the understanding and optimization of user/customer interaction to accelerate product introduction for CAVs.
Supported by the UK government’s HVM (High Value Manufacturing) Catapult, WMG’s test facility includes some of Europe’s most advanced 5G mmWave testing equipment, which has been provided by an equipment collaboration with National Instruments (NI) for their mmWave technology platform.
The project has also involved support from Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG), an independent wireless infrastructure operator headquartered in Edinburgh, which is advancing the use of higher capacity fiber-based ‘neutral-host’ infrastructure that is made available to all mobile and wireless networks.
Support of this project is part of WIG’s wider investment activity targeted at enabling connectivity along UK transport routes, with the company being the largest private investor in Midlands Future Mobility, the country’s largest real-world CAV testbed.
“These controlled trials are critical to better understand the capabilities of 5G in millimeter wave bands, and how infrastructure providers and vehicle manufacturers must carefully plan and deploy their 5G service and application roll-out over the next few years,” explained Higgins.
“This project, which includes real-world 5G mmWave trials on the University of Warwick’s campus, will also attempt to examine how the dynamics of both the vehicle and the environment affect performance between infrastructure and connected and autonomous vehicles.”
Bob Slorach, CTO of WIG, added, “This is an exciting step toward to the realization and deployment of future 5G applications, like connected and autonomous vehicles, which will be enabled by fiber connected wireless infrastructure that supports high data rates and ultra-low latency mobile broadband.”