Researchers set an autonomous vehicle communications record using 5G – a movie’s worth of data sent in seconds

Researchers in WMG at the University of Warwick have set a new 5G communications speed record to a “Level 4” low speed autonomous vehicle in the pioneer 28 GHz millimetre wave band. They hit 2.867 gigabits 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 United Kingdom within a single second, or the full contents of a high definition blockbuster film in less than 10 seconds.Using the NI mmWave Transceiver System, real-time data is transmitted at a rate of nearly 3 Gbps from the top of the virtual traffic light near a pedestrian crossing to an autonomous vehicle.

However this 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 (like radar but it uses laser light instead of radio waves), high definition video images of the vehicles surroundings, and traffic information.

WMG’s research team of Dr Matthew Higgins, Associate Professor, and Dr Erik Kampert, Senior Research Fellow, used their new 5G mmWave test facility (one of the most advanced in Europe) to set the new 5G mmWave band communications speed record. Working with an autonomous Pod built by RDM, a Coventry-based manufacturer of Level 4 low speed autonomous vehicles, the team optimised antenna placement both inside the pod, and on roadside infrastructure, such as a traffic light.

WMG’s Dr Matthew Higgins said:

“These controlled trials are critical to better understand the capabilities of 5G in millimetre wave bands, and how infrastructure providers and vehicle manufacturers must carefully plan and deploy their 5G service and application rollout over the next few years. 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 UK based Wireless Infrastructure Group, which provides support to the project, added that

“This is an exciting step towards to the realisation and deployment of future 5G applications, like connected and autonomous vehicles, which will be enabled by fibre connected wireless infrastructure that supports high data rates and ultra-low latency mobile broadband.“

The WMG research project is supported by Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG), National Instruments (NI), and HVM Catapult.

 

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