Vodafone, Huawei Engage in First European Test of a Tele-operated Vehicle

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At Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2017 Huawei and Vodafone for the first time in Europe showed how pre-standard 5G can be used by an authorized operator to remotely control a vehicle.

The test was carried out in cooperation with the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey and the Technical University of Munich (TUM). In this demonstration of pre-standard 5G, the vehicle was located on the University of Surrey campus and was controlled from London’s ExCel centre using a fully encrypted connection.

5G could be used in future by trained and authorized operatives communicating over fully encrypted channels to remotely control machines working in particularly harsh or dangerous environments such as mining and waste disposal sites. It could also be used for the emergency control of autonomous vehicles.

The vehicle was controlled from 50km away with only six centimeters of braking deviation when it travelled at a speed of approximately 20 kilometers per hour because the end-to-end network delivered latency of less than 10 milliseconds (ms) and air interface latency of less than 1ms.

Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group’s Head of Research and Development and Technology Strategy, said: “The 5G standard is close to completion and it’s encouraging to see how important capabilities such as low latency and increased reliability are shaping up. This innovative demonstration shows us an exciting glimpse into the future, complementing 5G’s role in providing enhanced mobile broadband. It is a milestone in the work we’ve been doing with Huawei to show how our network will support 5G connected vehicles in future.”

Chaobin Yang, President of Huawei’s 5G product line, said: “Huawei has been committed to exploring new 5G applications to give the technology more vitality. The 5G connected vehicle is one of the most important components of the ecosystem. This cooperation with Vodafone demonstrated that the 5G network has excellent ability to help the development of intelligent network technology accelerate the maturity of the industrial chain.”

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Founder and Director of the 5GIC, said: “With this demonstration it shows that 5G is now a reality with transformative impact on all aspects of our lives.”

Professor Markus Lienkamp, head of the TUM Chair of Automotive Technology, said: “We demonstrated that Tele-Operated vehicle control will be feasible with 5G. This will enable new mobility concepts.”


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