O2’s 5G to accelerate autonomous car testing on the streets of London

Mobile operator, O2, has signed an agreement to bring 5G technology to driverless vehicle testing in London. The move will allow car manufacturers, self-driving technology companies, startups and public organisations to road test driverless vehicles in a real-world environment.

The vehicles are being tested by the Smart Mobility Living Lab which brings together experts from TRL, DG Cities, Cisco and Loughborough University and will work from Greenwich and the QueenElizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford on both public and private roads.

The speed of 5G, its ability to connect with many more devices at once, and a far lower latency, means that large amounts of data is sent almost instantly to intelligent cloud-based transport systems, making it the perfect medium for autonomous vehicles.

O2 research has predicted that a 5G road management system could reduce the time motorists spend stuck in traffic by 10%, save the economy £880 million a year, and reduce CO2 emissions by 370,000 metric tonnes per year.

We know that by powering the transport sector we can make a real difference to consumers by reducing traffic congestion, making journeys safer and faster. We’re excited to be working with the teams at the Smart Mobility Living Lab, who are driving forward our understanding of how this next generation technology will fundamentally change the fabric of the cities in which we live and work as well as creating entirely new ways to travel.

Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer, O2