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October 4, 2016updated 26 Jul 2022 4:45am

Vodafone starts testing 5G systems for UK smart cars

LTE-V2X technology aims to make European roads safer.

By Hannah Williams

Vodafone has begun testing vehicle-to-vehicle communications (LTE-V2X) in the UK, with further trials to take place in Germany.

LTE-V2X is used to enable cars to communicate with each other, in order to improve road safety and efficiency.

Although many vehicles are already secured with the production line supporting eCall, which automatically signals to emergency services in the event of a crash, Vodafone is looking to explore ways in which to lessen the amount of crashes.

Cars have been made smarter and safer over recent years, which is partly due to the use of embedded cellular communications. Using 5G is to accelerate this trend, the aim is to reduce the 25,000 annual fatalities on European roads.

Vodafone said in a blog: “We are currently driving the development of this new technology, known as LTE-V2X which means connecting vehicles (V) to everything (X). Vodafone and our industry partners are developing LTE-V2X through the standards organisation 3GPP.”

The firm is testing new technology which will not only enable cars to talk to each other, but also add roadside infrastructure over greater distances.

It is to be associated with an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that makes promises to carry out a transformational change to driving, vehicle safety and traffic congestion management.

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Vehicles are to become more aware of their immediate and surrounding environment with the use of this system.

“Achieving communication between vehicles and infrastructure is an important step that will lead to full automation of cars after 2020,” said Vodafone.

“We are excited to be trialling the technology that will bring new 5G capabilities to vehicles enabling safer and smarter driving.”

Although a few of the features added to new cars, such as automatic braking, lane-tracking and blind spot warning are already helping to reduce crashes, they are wholly dependent on sensors within the vehicle that have a limited range.

The new technology used will emphasise extensions to the vastly used 4G standard that is popularly deployed around the world.

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