UK: O2 and the European Space Agency will be supporting ‘Project Darwin’, an ambitious four year trial programme designed to pave the way for next generation connectivity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
The project aims to test new technology and end-to-end connectivity solutions including 5G and satellite communications to ultimately create a new CAV industry vertical.
Based in the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, ‘Project Darwin’ will bring together Oxford and Glasgow Universities, Spanish satellite operator Hispasat, start-ups specialised in self-driving mobility solutions and Darwin Innovation Group Oxford – a cutting edge innovation company connecting terrestrial and satellite communications.
From July 2019 the high-level design and definition phase will begin at Harwell to explore the key connected vehicle and Vehicle-SIM platforms as well as AI neural network integration. From 2020 the project hopes to be in a position to showcase the first ‘proof of concepts’.
Greg Clark, Business Secretary, O2 said, “Our world-beating space and auto industries have a proven track record in driving forward pioneering research, while the UK’s satellite services are constantly enhancing services such as the quality of our communications, healthcare and environmental monitoring. This new partnership between Government and industry will build on our world-leading reputation in the development and manufacture of satellites even further, to bring together two of the UK’s great strengths – automotive and space. Putting us at the forefront of the next generation of self-driving cars of tomorrow – a key ambition in our modern Industrial Strategy.”
Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth, UK Space Agency said, “Autonomous vehicles need robust, high-speed mobile data connections to operate effectively. Building the technology to link them to telecoms satellites will allow you to take your car wherever you want to go, and not just to areas with a strong mobile signal. “
Jones added, “The future of mobility is one of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges, and this project will help ensure this critical technology is developed in Harwell, bringing expertise, jobs and growth to the UK.”