The United Kingdom launched its initial commercial laboratory for 5G and satellite communications. The laboratory-based in the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire was launched as part of the project Darwin, a trial program that will be run for four years. O2 and the European Space Agency support it.
The laboratory, christened Darwin SatCom Lab, will be open to businesses interested in exploring the next-generation solutions to connectivity issues in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) by the use of the 5G and satellite communications.
By using provided two Renault TWIZY electric cars, which the O2 transformed into CAVs and fitted with LIDAR sensors for remote control from the lab, companies will be able to carry out their proof tests. By the use of satellite communication in the extension of 5G networks will give room for seamless connectivity to areas that are inaccessible to trains and vehicles. This will bring about reliable access in the country.
O2’s 5G innovation team will be able to remotely track the position of the CAVs by application of 5G equipment from Nokia and by use of geosynchronous communications satellite (GEDOs) from Hispasat, a satellite operator from Spain. With the technology provided by these two companies, O2 will be able to, in real-time, know the position, movement, and speed of the CAVS. A digital twin version will be broadcast to monitors in O2’s laboratory at the University of Glasgow and Bath Road, Slough, its headquarters.
Already companies have been testing proofs of concepts at the facility with a test already in progress at the facility to track carbon dioxide emissions by vehicles via the LIDAR sensors. The projects use satellite imagery to view the regions through which the vehicles are moving and observe indigenous biodiversity. The data collected by the team is then used in the calculation of the releases savings of using diverse roads based on the carbon detention by nearby vegetation.
The project, which was announced in June 2019, saw the collaboration between Oxford and Glasgow Universities, Hispasat, Darwin Innovation Group Oxford, and other startups to carry out tests on new technologies end-to-end connectivity solutions together with 5G and satellite communication.
According to the Minister for Science, Research, and Innovation, Amanda Solloway MP, the country’s space sector, uses pioneering technologies such as the satellite and 5G in crucial goods and services to transform its citizens’ lives.