O2 to collaborate on UK driverless vehicle trials

Telecommunications company O2 has signed a collaboration agreement with Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG) to deliver connectivity for driverless vehicle trials in the West Midlands.

The company has committed to supporting the design of what is expected to be Europe’s largest fibre connected small cell network, in a project that will support the rapid deployment of 5G connectivity.

The scheme is part of the Midlands Future Mobility project and will see O2 provide the connectivity for a 50-mile route running through Birmingham and Coventry to test new driverless technologies, set to be launched in 2020.

“We are delighted to be working with O2 and WIG to test autonomous vehicles on roads here in the West Midlands,” said Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.

“As the heart of the UK’s future mobility research and development, and the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed, the West Midlands is well-positioned to create thousands of new jobs in the industries of the future.”

Brendan O’Reilly, CTO at O2, said: “Mobile powers our modern world and 5G has even more potential to move Britain forward which is why we’re excited to be working together with WIG to continue to build this technology into the fabric of our cities and communities.”

As part of the UK government’s ambition to be a leader in self-driving cars, Innovate UK has launched a series of driverless vehicle testbed programmes. The initiative promises to create the largest, most diverse testing environment in the UK, and will involve new roadside infrastructure such as smart vehicle monitoring, data analytics and 5G-ready wireless infrastructure.