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O2 teams up with European Space Agency to trial connectivity solutions for autonomous vehicles

Paul Lipscombe
June 24, 2019

O2 hope to showcase the first ‘proof of concepts’ of the project by 2020

O2 has partnered up with the European Space Agency to support a project that trials technology for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

The collaboration comes
as part of a four-year trial programme called ‘Project Darwin’ which
aims to test connectivity solutions such as 5G and satellite
communications.

Project Darwin is based
at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire and
brings together Oxford and Glasgow universities, Spanish satellite
operator Hispasat, start-ups that specialise in self-driving mobility
solutions and Darwin Innovation Group Oxford.

The project will begin
work next month, with plans to explore key connected vehicle and
vehicle-SIM platforms plus AI neural network integration.

Research last year conducted by O2 found that CAVs are expected to generate up to 4TB of data.

O2 COO Derek McManus
said: “Project Darwin is an important piece of the connected and
autonomous vehicle puzzle. The research taking place at Harwell
during the next four years will be vital in the creation of new
transport ecosystems for the UK public and the companies that will
offer these services.”

Project Darwin has also
received support from the UK government to launch an ARTES ‘Partner
Study’ to help discover the different elements needed for the larger
programme.

UK Space Agency
director of growth Catherine Mealing-Jones said: “Autonomous
vehicles need robust, high-speed mobile data connections to operate
effectively.

“Building the
technology to link them to telecoms satellites will allow you to take
your car wherever you want to go, and not just to areas with a strong
mobile signal.”

Recently O2 confirmed it will turn its 5G network on at the Millbrook Testing Ground for self-driving cars in Bedfordshire.

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