O2, the second-largest mobile network operator in the United Kingdom, plans to turn on a 5G network in June this year, 2019, to facilitate the test driving of autonomous cars at Millbrook Testing Ground in Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. In addition, O2 also announced its plans to turn on 5G networks later this year in four different locations in the United Kingdom; Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London.
Millbrook Proving Ground was founded in 1960 and is one of the largest vehicle testing centers in Europe. It has 70km of varied test tracks, including hill routes, high-speed areas, and challenging off-road courses. Millbrook is known as a testing ground where a lot of big autonomous and connected vehicle manufacturers put their cars through their paces, including Oxbotica, Street drone, and Five.ai.
O2 will enable 5G connectivity at Millbrook’s testing facilities from June 2019, using its 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum. The on-site network consists of 59 sites and 89 small cells and is operated by British wireless solution provider Dense Air. Under a 12-month agreement with the AutoAir project, O2 will integrate the sites and small cells into its public infrastructure.
According to Mobile Europe, Brendan O’Reilly, chief technology officer of O2, said, “5G will play a key role in how our country develops over the next few years. If implemented properly, 5G has the potential to drive economic growth, create jobs and enable a new host of technologies – including self-driving vehicles.”