Spark New Zealand and Ohmio Automotion have joined hands to test 5G-connected driverless car on Auckland streets. This is for the first time that these tests are being carried out in New Zealand.
The tests are being conducted in a controlled area at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct using Spark’s pre-commercial 5G network available as part of its 5G Innovation Lab.
The 5G-connected driverless car was developed by Ohmio, a New Zealand company which has been trialling autonomous vehicles at Christchurch airport. Since these trials, the car has been upgraded with new technology to ensure it integrates with Spark’s 5G test network.
The car carries up to four people, using a tablet, passengers are able to hail the car which moves down the street to collect the passengers. Inside, a dashboard tells the passengers what the car is monitoring in real time using LiDAR technology to help make sense of the surrounding environment.
While the vehicle is capable of driving itself at up to 25 kmph, the trial will cap the vehicles’ top speed at 7 kmph during the pre-programmed test drive loop lasting approximately seven minutes.
Ohmio plans to launch more driverless cars in more closed facilities across New Zealand, including airports, university campuses, retirement villages and hospitals. The company also plans to gain on-road certification and look for opportunities to use the cars on public streets alongside regular vehicles.
Spark’s preparation and testing for the 5G network started in March last year with a 5G mobile speed test in Auckland and Wellington. In Auckland, Spark achieved speeds of up to 18Gbp/s – which is around 100x faster than many typical New Zealand wireless device users currently experience.
Spark aims to have New Zealand’s first 5G network live on the Auckland Harbour by 1 July 2020.
Source: Press Release