UK Space agency and O2 work together on driverless cars
For connected and autonomous vehicles to be able to communicate with other vehicles and surrounding infrastructure outside of towns and cities, next generation telecoms satellites are needed.
A new programme called Darwin aims to test seamless highspeed data connections using 5G and satellites. Next generation telecoms satellites will ensure that vehicles stay connected outside of towns and cities which typically have good mobile signals.
Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth, UK Space Agency, said: "Autonomous vehicles require robust high-speed mobile data connections to operate effectively, so building the technology to link autonomous vehicles to telecoms satellites means that you will be able to take your car wherever you want to go, not just where there’s decent mobile signal.
"The future of mobility is one of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges, so I’m delighted to support Project Darwin to ensure that this critical technology is developed in Harwell, bringing expertise, jobs and growth to Britain."
O2 research shows that CAVs are expected to generate unprecedented levels of data – 4TB per hour – highlighting the need for next generation connectivity.
This research will be based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire, and is co-funded through the UK Space Agency’s investment in the European Space Agency’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES).
Other partners are Oxford and Glasgow universities, telecoms business O2 Telefonica, Spanish satellite operator Hispasat, and the Darwin Innovation Group Oxford.
Darwin is developing an ARTES ‘Partner Study’ programme with UK support (first phase £2m) to help define all the different elements needed to deliver the larger programme. UK Space Agency is working closely with Darwin and O2 to support this ambition in the UK.