Telecoms company O2 is opening a new commercial driverless car research lab at Harwell in Oxfordshire.
The Darwin SatCom Lab is aiming to test 5G solutions to improve connectivity for autonomous driving thanks to the reduced latency of the technology.
Backed by funding from the UK Space Agency, the new lab – based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire – will invite businesses to test driverless cars and use 5G and satellite technology to trial ways of keeping vehicles connected.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “The UK’s space sector is applying pioneering technologies such as satellite and 5G to essential products and services that will help to transform our everyday lives.
“I am incredibly excited that O2’s first-of-its-kind driverless car lab will enable our most innovative businesses to test these technologies and bring us another step closer to putting self-driving vehicles safely on our roads.”
At the site, O2 has already converted two Renault TWIZY electric cars into driverless cars fitted with LIDAR sensors which allow them to be controlled from the Lab and driven around the Campus.