Vodafone is to deploy and build a 4G and 5G mobile private network at HORIBA MIRA’s Midlands headquarters, which it said will 'help make self-driving vehicles on our roads a reality'.
HORIBA MIRA described its Nuneaton site as one of the world’s most advanced set of facilities for engineering self-driving vehicles.
It said the move will expand its unique self-driving capabilities, which already include expertise in the rising cybersecurity threats facing driverless technologies as well as the use of artificial intelligence in unmanned ground vehicles in the defence sector.
The 5G offering will be used by its clients, ‘namely automakers, self-driving disruptors and their suppliers, to push the boundaries of driverless technologies'.
HORIBA MIRA, a member of the Automotive Council, which oversees the UK’s strategy on driverless vehicles, said it believes creating a 5G capability at the site is an important breakthrough in taking self-driving technology to the next stage of mainstream deployment and mass commercialisation.
5G provides significantly faster data speeds, allowing vehicles to communicate with each other and the surrounding infrastructure such as traffic signals in near real-time.
HORIBA MIRA said the technology has the potential to massively improve the performance and capability of connected and driverless vehicles.
By communicating with other vehicles they can react more quickly to fast-evolving emergency situations and form co-operative groups of vehicles for more efficient delivery of goods.
Chris Reeves, HORIBA MIRA's head of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, said: ‘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.’
The news follows the recent announcement that Vodafone has partnered with autonomous vehicle consortium Midlands Future Mobility to deploy 5G on more than 300 miles of key test routes in the West Midlands.