O2's Turning on 5G for Self-Driving Cars

By Holly Brockwell on at

O2 will be turning on its 5G network this June so that self-driving cars can find their way around the Millbrook Testing Ground in Bedfordshire.

That's even earlier than O2 said it'll be turning on 5G to the "four corners of the UK" (meaning four specific places, not the whole country), which will be happening later in the year in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

Millbrook is a testing ground where a lot of the big autonomous and connected vehicle manufacturers put their cars through their paces, including Oxbotica, Streetdrone and Five.ai. O2 will be providing both public and private network connectivity for the firms there to test their products.

The Millbrook Proving Ground is operated by a wireless company called Dense Air, and part funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Its 59 sites and 89 small cells will be added to O2's infrastructure as part of the AutoAir project (keep up) and enjoy 5G on both the 2.3 GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum

5G's high data throughput and low latency will be key to helping self-driving cars navigate, as well as being used to monitor road safety and traffic patterns. A trial earlier this year saw a McLaren sports car send and receive at 1 gigabit per second as it hared around the course at 160 miles an hour, sharing 4K video with the rest of the vehicles on the track. Bonkers.

Brendan O’Reilly, O2’s Chief Technology Officer, comments:

"5G will play a key role in how our country develops over the next few years. If implemented properly, 5G has the potential to drive economic growth, create jobs and enable a new host of technologies – including self-driving vehicles.

That’s why we’re delighted to be supporting the trial activity at Millbrook, alongside ambitious partners who share our vision of building a truly mobile Britain."

Why do O2's comments always sound like Prime Ministerial speeches? STRONG AND STABLE 5G for everyone!