Vodafone and HORIBA MIRA bring 5G to driverless cars

In a bid to boost self-driving vehicle operations in the UK, Vodafone will build a private 4G and 5G mobile network to expand the self-driving capabilities at HORIBA MIRA.

This will enable new engineering, testing, verification and validation methods for HORIBA MIRA’s client base, which is made up of car manufacturers, self-driving disruptors and their suppliers.

Vodafone will look to enhance performance of connected and driverless vehicles, including increasing the efficiency of communications between vehicles and surrounding infrastructure, such as traffic signals.

The new private 5G mobile network can allow for faster reactions to quickly evolving emergency situations, form co-operative groups of vehicles for more efficient delivery of goods, and even improve air quality through better route planning and more efficient operation.

The new capabilities will join HORIBA MIRA’s existing portfolio of services, which currently includes cyber security threat expertise, and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in Unmanned Ground Vehicles in the defence sector.

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Chris Reeves, head of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies at HORIBA MIRA, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Vodafone in bringing 5G to our Nuneaton headquarters, which, working alongside automakers around the world over the last decade, puts us at the forefront of developing and verifying cutting-edge driverless technologies.

“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, commented: “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.”

HORIBA MIRA is a current member of the Automotive Council, which oversees driverless vehicle developments across the UK, in collaboration with the UK government.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.