UK researchers have set a new record for communications with an autonomous vehicle, sending the equivalent of a detailed satellite navigation map of the UK within a single second, or the full contents of a high definition film in less than 10 seconds.
Researchers at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), part of the University of Warwick, achieved 2.867 gigabits per second in over-the-air transmissions, which is nearly 40 times faster than current fixed-line broadband speeds.
The trial took place at WMG’s new 5G mmWave test facility. Using 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 the roadside infrastructure.
Real-time data was transmitted to the autonomous vehicle from the top of a traffic light near a pedestrian crossing.
As well as enabling the delivery of HD content to in-car entertainment systems, next generation connectivity will allow autonomous vehicles to rapidly share large quantities of data with each other and with traffic management systems. This could include precise 3D road maps created by LiDAR, high definition video images of the vehicle’s surroundings, and traffic information.
“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,” explained WMG’s Dr Matthew 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.”