UK 5G Test Bed for Connected, Automated Vehicles (CAV’s)
The AutoAir project is a consortium of partners led by Airspan Networks and is hosted at Millbrook. It is a unique, accelerated development programme for 5G technology and is based on small cells that operate on a “Neutral Host” basis. The shared neutral host platform allows multiple public and private mobile operators simultaneously to use the same infrastructure using network slicing, which can radically improve the economics for 5G networks.
Other partners in the AutoAir consortium are Blu WirelessTechnology, McLaren Applied Technologies, the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, Dense Air, Real Wireless, Quortus and Celestia Technologies Group.
The mobile network infrastructure installed at Millbrook Proving Ground as part of the AutoAir project consists of:
- 77 “small cell” base stations, 46 of which went live in February 2019. These use 2.3 GHz and 3.7 GHz spectrum
- 22 mmWave (60 GHz) access points around the High Speed Circuit
- 59 masts: 38 for the small cell base stations, 11 for the mmWave access points and an additional 10 for the mmWave mesh backhaul around the Hill Route
- 19 km of fibre-optic cable
- …over 70km of highly-specialised test tracks and multiple terrains.
Launch Event – 12th February 2019
The demonstrations during the launch event used both the sub-6 GHz networks (2.3 and 3.7 GHz) and the 60 GHz mmWave network for Gigabit access to fast-moving vehicles. There were also a number of indoor demonstrations of technology that will go live on the network in the coming year.
The small cell network was used to stream video from eight 4K video cameras mounted on moving vehicles to a coach, where the video was shown on screens to the guests attending the launch. The small cell base stations were developed by AutoAir lead partner, Airspan Networks.