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Sunderland 5G infrastructure shows potential for autonomous heavy vehicles


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Men in suits demonstrtating the techncology
Image source: 5G CAL

A consortium including Sunderland City Council has completed a pilot on the use 5G in the autonomous control of a heavy goods vehicle.

Under the 5G Connected and Automated Logistics (5G CAL) project, a Terberg EV truck has been automated to drive between the Nissan car plant and Vantec Europe auto parts facility.

The vehicle’s teleoperations system uses teleoperation technology from StreetDrone connected to a private 5G network to facilitate remote teleoperations.

The project has provided a proof of concept for the use of 5G in an automotive environment and extended the potential of Sunderland’s 5G infrastructure

Patrick Melia, the council’s chief executive, said: “Through this 5G CAL pilot, we have been able to showcase the power of 5G and our unique supporting smart city infrastructure, which are stimulating real advancements for both logistics and advanced manufacturing.

“This successful pilot has revealed a host of new opportunities, not just commercially for the automotive sector, but for upskilling and new job prospects, empowering local people by creating the potential for careers in higher value, better paid jobs.”

Further development

The consortium now has a proposed series of projects to develop the technology.

Other members are the Connected Places Catapult, the North East Automotive Alliance, Newcastle University, Coventry University and Perform Green, and the project is supported by Nissan, Vantec Europe, Terberg DTS UK and Fergusons Transport.

The 5G CAL project was awarded a share of £30 million through 5G Create, an open competition under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s £200 million 5G Testbeds and Trials programme.

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