5G and Connectivity Testing

At a glance

Millbrook provides a means for customers to develop remote vehicle operations across a secure cellular 4G LTE and 5G network. It enables demonstrations and testing of connected and autonomous vehicle capabilities.

Skip to connectivity architecture

Aerial view of workshops for hire at Millbrook Proving Ground's technology park autonomous car test facility
5G test bed at Millbrook Proving Ground with self-drving car and vehicle testing on the High Speed Circuit
Autonomous car testing at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire

5G Test Bed

As part of the AutoAir project led by Dense Air Ltd, Millbrook is hosting the UK 5G test bed for transport at its UK proving ground. The project includes deploying a cellular 4G LTE and 5G network, as well as 802.11p and 70GHz Millimetre Wave (mmWave) connectivity throughout its 700 acre site.

Its 5G test bed offers a safe and secure connection with ultra-high reliability and low latency. It is the only environment of its scale in Europe for new and emerging technologies and services in the connected vehicle sector.

McLaren on Millbrook's High Speed Circuit using 5G network for live data streaming

Demonstrations

Telecommunications companies often demonstrate and test vehicles on public highways. This means they test in uncontrolled environments and must constantly rely on public 5G connectivity, which may not provide adequate 5G speed.

Millbrook’s private network allows customers to demonstrate proof of concept to investors and demonstrate features of self-driving cars and other devices to customers. Its 5G test bed and hyper-dense small cell network can be used as a secure, safe test area for initial development of control systems.

“The AutoAir project is a great demonstration of how partnerships can help shape the use cases and drive the benefits that we all want to see from 5G. Test networks at sites like Millbrook will be crucial in understanding how 5G will enable the development of connected and autonomous vehicles as well as the associated business and consumer use cases which will transform the automotive sector.” Brendan O’Reilly, CTO at Telefónica UK

5G testing at Millbrook Proving Ground on the High Speed Circuit as part of the AutoAir consortium

5G Test Bed Connectivity

With extensive coverage on a private 4G LTE and 5G network, the 5G test bed offers secure connections, reliability and low latency needed to broadcast control signals for test vehicles.

Simulating a 5G-connected highway enables the sharing of sensor data between road users and infrastructure (V2V, V2I, X2X) over a long distance. Customers can stream data via 5G in real-time from the vehicle to a remote location.

Real-time connectivity with speeds in excess of 1Gbps can enable accurate location and connectivity trials, accelerating self-driving car testing and development. Millbrook can provide accurate ground positioning of 2cm object-to-object, and its cellular network has complete coverage of all solid surface tracks. Proven data logger, camera and voice links provide seamless communication of test information via the network.

“This project will transform the way we design, maintain and operate on our future networks. Developing the first 5G neutral network in the UK will allow us to continue our drive for innovation and industry-changing initiatives for the transportation sector.” Lizi Stewart, Managing Director, Transportation UK, Atkins

Connectivity Architecture

  • 454.1MHz Ofcom-licensed Real-Time Kinematics correction network with 2cm object-to-object positioning - 1 base station and 2 repeaters
  • 802.11p 5.9GHz WiFi for V2X - configurable for ITS G5 and DSRC
  • 40 Cohda MK5 roadside units mounted on masts across the site
  • 2 Cohda on-board units for hire
  • 5GHz 5GNR experimental
  • Band 40 2.3GHz 4G LTE (private)
  • Band 43 3.7GHz 4G LTE (private)
  • 59 mast locations across the site
  • 70GHz mmWave V2X sites around the High Speed Circuit; 22 radios on 11 masts, approach and departure directions
  • 60GHz mmWave mesh on the Hill Route to relay 4G LTE in 15 locations
  • Private network accessible with Millbrook SIM - data remains on site
  • Access via firewall for export to customer location

“AutoAir at Millbrook is one of the most ambitious 5G Testbeds and Trials sites in the world. AutoAir is directly tackling the key 5G technology and system design challenges that CAVs create. The project has now completed the deployment of a hyper-dense small cell network that delivers ultra-high capacities which enables a range of new CAV use cases to be explored. Everyone in AutoAir consortium is excited to have reached this important milestone.” Paul Senior, Chief Strategy Officer at Airspan Networks, and CEO of Dense Air

 

In addition, Millbrook Proving Ground offers:

  • Secure storage of customer data on site for the duration of the tests
  • Secure garages available for hire at Millbrook’s Autonomous Village
  • Open-source reference vehicles which can be configured by customers; they feature open CANBUS access for control systems, on-board data recording and live telemetry
  • Soft targets and instrumentation expertise for setting real-world self-driving vehicle trials and scenarios
  • A virtual twin, a digital model of the test tracks with 1mm surface accuracy for vehicle simulation
  • A simulator suite enabling vehicle and software developers to develop products in both the physical and the virtual environments

 

“The development of connected and autonomous vehicles is continuing to move at great speed, so it is important that we do the same. The fast rate of progress in the installation of our 5G-enabled network is testament to the hard work and dedication of the consortium team to ensure CAV developers have all the facilities they need to engineer world-class technology." Alex Burns, President of Millbrook