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Automotive testing specialist announces 5G network upgrade

Professional Engineering

The AutoAir network at Millbrook Proving Ground provides ultra-fast data speeds (Credit: Millbrook)
The AutoAir network at Millbrook Proving Ground provides ultra-fast data speeds (Credit: Millbrook)

Automotive testing specialist Millbrook has announced a “major” upgrade to a 5G network used for the development of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Originally created by DCMS and AutoAir, the 5G ‘testbed’ at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire is aimed at developing the mobile data technology and exploring its applications for the automotive sector and beyond. Dense Air, the neutral host operator of the testbed, will upgrade the network to make it the "largest standalone 5G neutral host network in Europe".

Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) developers will have access to low-latency connectivity, network slicing, and the opportunity to test vehicles in more advanced networks which are available in key export markets.

The enhanced technology will be deployed at Millbrook’s 700-acre test facility early this year. In addition to extensive test tracks and laboratories, Millbrook is home to the UK Government Controlled Urban Testbed for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.

“This upgrade is a huge step forward in capability, bringing the latest technology to our 5G testbed,” said Millbrook president Connor McCormack. “It brings vast benefits to customers within our secure operating environment and future-proofs our testbed for the long term. We are very proud to be part of the AutoAir consortium and look forward to the rollout of this cutting-edge technology.”

The network will operate on spectrums at 4G Band 40 (2.3GHz), 4G Band 3 (1.8GHz) and 5G Band n77 (3.8 and 4.2GHz) under pioneering shared-access licences. This will allow private networks to work within allocated spectrums for test and development, while also supporting public access from mobile network operators.

The n77 band is already in commercial operation in Japan, and is being auctioned in the US by the Federal Communications Commission. This means companies at Millbrook will be able to test CAVs using the latest network frequencies before exporting vehicles to Japan and the US.

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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