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Midlands Future Mobility and Spirent Establish Breakthrough 5G Research Network

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Mark Price on 8 Nov 2019
  • Last modified 11 Nov 2019

Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) and leading test and assurance provider Spirent Communications have announced a significant expansion of their work with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick via the MFM initiative. MFM will work with Spirent to deploy 5G digital twin technology, which emulates 5G network connectivity for testing in a controlled environment, within a 3xD drive-in simulator operated by WMG, the University’s leading automotive and manufacturing research group.

It will represent the first emulated 5G standalone core network dedicated to researching next-gen mobile use cases, including connected automated mobility, in almost unlimited testing scenarios. 

“A full understanding of future 5G-enabled industries and how to operationalize them for business and consumer usage is now possible in a safe, controlled environment, thanks to Spirent,” said Dr. Matthew Higgins, Associate Professor at WMG.

“We’ll be able to test with near-limitless potential. For instance, determining how an intelligent vehicle, drone or manufacturing robot would perform on a 5G network that millions of people are using at the same time – a near impossibility on the live 5G networks today that cannot offer an accurate picture of traffic to be expected at saturation years from now,” said Higgins.

MFM will be both a digital and real-world (480km of public roads) ecosystem serving as a springboard for scalable, future mobility technologies and services. It will facilitate access to diverse, public physical test environments with smart monitoring, the latest wireless connectivity and a complete support network.

The 5G standalone core network and MFM’s broader 5G program will help industry sectors, including automotive, manufacturing and telecommunications, jumpstart testing applications and processes in both digital and real-world scenarios. Digital twin technology will enable full control and customization to more effectively facilitate engagement and scope future user requirements on real roads. 

“5G is rolling out across major cities globally and nearly every industry wants to fast-track the ability to harness these new networks to push the edge of innovation,” said Head of 5G Strategy at Spirent, Stephen Douglas.

“Understanding fully how 5G networks can be optimized in support of new use cases through cost-effective testing and emulation is being made possible by Midlands Future Mobility. We’re privileged to be working with MFM on this important initiative that will keep the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge research for connected and automated Mobility.”

Researchers and commercial entities will be able to work with MFM to safely and confidently amass volumes of data from emerging use case experimentation that correlates precisely with a live 5G network’s behavior. This includes everything from determining the maximum responsiveness of autonomous vehicle applications to testing how a robot connected to the network can accelerate a manufacturing task with minimal latency in a safe, reliable and secure manner.

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