Developed alongside Nokia and Chordant, with support from the UK government, Vodafone says the platform will serve as “a new type of information superhighway”
Today, Vodafone has announced the testing of a new ‘vehicle-to-everything’ cloud platform, aiming to connect vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, and infrastructure in a seamless digital transport ecosystem.
Vodafone’s goal is to create an open platform where each element of this connected ecosystem can communicate, allowing them to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the road. This will allow information related to traffic, incidents, and hazards to be communicated quickly to connected vehicles, as well as to road authorities.
The operator notes that over 70% of all cars built in 2020 have digital telematics capabilities already, with this number increasing each year, hence creating a more holistic, connected platform is a natural next step.
The tests constitute the UK’s first live implementation of Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, which will not only allow for new mobility services and improved safety and reliability on the road, but the data collected will also allow for the creation of ‘greener’ transport networks.
“It’s fantastic to see vehicle to everything mobile technology being deployed on the open road for the first time in the UK,” said Luke Ibbetson, head of group R&D at Vodafone. “While the system is delivered via smartphone, drivers will need to use handsfree equipment. Meanwhile we are working with the automotive industry and road operators to have the technology integrated within vehicles and transport infrastructure to make our roads safer.”
As part of a collaboration with Transport for West Midlands, the testing scheme will begin in the region’s cities, including Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton.
While this announcement makes no mention of autonomous vehicles, the creation of this connected platform seems a natural initial step towards the ultimate goal of self-driving vehicles.
Vodafone is not the only operator currently taking part in connected vehicle tests. Just yesterday, Aviva and Dawin Innovation Group announced that they were trialling autonomous vehicles at the Darwin SatCom Lab in Oxfordshire, making use of O2’s 5G network.
How long before autonomous cars are driving on UK roads? Find out what the communication experts have to say at this year’s Total Telecom Congress
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