UK’s first driverless car lab launches in Oxfordshire

The UK’s first commercial lab to trial driverless cars that use 5G and satellite technology has launched in Oxfordshire.

The Darwin SatCom Lab is based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus and will invite businesses to test driverless cars at the site.

Led by O2 with backing from the Government and funding from the UK Space Agency, the lab will also look into ways of using 5G technology and satellites to keep vehicles connected.

5G is seen as a key technology in the development of autonomous vehicles by reducing the time it takes for information to be sent and received – crucial for driverless cars as they scan the environment around them, process that data and control the vehicle accordingly.

The use of satellites within such systems is being tested as a way to allow vehicles to operate safely in areas where mobile phone signal is poor.