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Virgin Media O2 shifts gears with 5G

Megan Robinson
November 22, 2021

The collaboration aims to create a new way of driving

Virgin Media O2 revealed the latest developments in 5G connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) at an event in London with the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL).

These autonomous vehicles use connected sensors and stream information from one car to another in real time using 5G.

The event showcased Virgin Media O2 and SMLL’s collaboration by using digital capabilities to enable vehicles that reduce emissions and enable smarter driving patterns.

The control room showed a 24-hour security network monitoring 24 kilometres of road around Greenwich and the Olympic Park.


The SMLL is a company of innovation centre the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), which has invested £25 million in the project along with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and those from the transport and technology sectors. The government has invested £13 million of that figure.

“This is the world’s only real world test lab in a mega city,” said TRL CEO Paul Campion. “We have the opportunity to bring together all these brains to do something really extraordinary.”

SMLL has also teamed up with automobile manufacturer Nissan on a project in which 5G and vehicle- to-infrastructure communications provide messaging and cameras to tell the vehicle about roadworks ahead or pedestrians crossing.

SMLL is planning to add a private 5G network within the facility to enable more testing.

“I firmly believe that the capabilities exposed from technologies like 5G and the evolution of that in a mobile space will give us the ability to make real and meaningful changes,” said Virgin Media O2 head of 5G Rob Searle.

The CAVs are still in development, but progress is being made with the 5G networks, simulations and local infrastructure put in place.

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