Researchers testing 5G for self-driving vehicles
The first over-the-air 5G New Radio standard-compliant test user equipment (UE) in Europe has been homed at WMG, University of Warwick. The equipment will be put in connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) being tested on the Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) testbed on the university campus, to share sensor data with other vehicles and the roadside infrastructure.
With the accelerating deployment of 5G functions on existing wireless telecommunication networks, the time is right to test the full potential of 5G independently. As the lead of the MFM testbed for CAVs, WMG has set enabling and performance testing of high-throughput, low-latency CAV use cases as one of its key research focuses.
Its use cases include remote driving and enhanced vehicular perception through the sharing of sensor data with other vehicles and the roadside infrastructure. WMG also aims to enhance the quality of future mobility services by exploring how to seamlessly stream infotainment content for CAV passengers over a 5G link.
In this role, WMG has just installed what is claimed to be Europe’s first 5G New Radio test UE that is fully compliant with Release 15 of the 5G technology standard developed by the 3GPP. It can emulate full UE operation and test real-time performance of 5G wireless connections to external base stations.
The mobile UE can be placed inside MFM vehicles on its 5G campus testbed, and payload data can be sent through 5G infrastructure into its further 5G network.
WMG and MFM are already engaged with a variety of industrial partners regarding connectivity, technology verification and validation, and the understanding and optimisation of user interaction with driverless technology.
Besides providing 5G automotive communication, this technology is, among others, also transferable to the manufacturing sector and supports Industry 4.0 use cases in which massive connectivity, high-throughput and low-latency mobile communication requirements exist as well.
A team of researchers led by Dr Matthew Higgins, Associate Professor at WMG, is now integrating the new technology component from National Instruments into the current projects.
“Crucial to our research strategy is the ability to understand and demonstrate the potential of 5G communications systems to our project partners early in their product development cycle,” said Dr Higgins. “NI’s latest 5G test solution enables us to conduct standards-compliant, real-time 5G link performance tests inside both a controlled lab environment as well as outdoors in campus trials before commercial hardware is available.”
“Being experienced users of state-of-the-art 5G communications equipment, this unique UE solution from NI facilitates us to expand our capabilities for CR&D work and collaborative project with CAV partners,” added Dr Erik Kampert, HVM Catapult Senior Research Fellow.
James Kimery, Director of Wireless Research and SDR Marketing at NI said: “5G promises to not only revolutionise the wireless industry but also pervade and expand into other areas. For 5G application research, standards-compliant technologies and solutions such as the NI Test UE are critically important to furthering this research and spurring innovation. NI is very excited to work with researchers at WMG and MFM and applaud their vision of evolving 5G into automotive, manufacturing and beyond.”
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