The West Midlands region of the UK is to be the country’s first multi-city 5G test bed, seeing how high speed connectivity could be rolled out and testing a number of applications and services at scale including two with connected vehicles and join a driverless car trial.
The Urban Connected Communities Project, part of the Government’s 5G Testbed and Trials Programme, will develop a large-scale, 5G pilot across the region, with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.
As part of the trial the West Midlands Combined Authority will partner with Jaguar Land Rover to facilitate real world testing of driverless cars while the pilot will also try “Connected Ambulances”, allowing meaning paramedic crews at an incident could access specialist advice while they are at the scene, eg video conferencing with consultants or other clinical specialists. Live streaming of patient data from ambulance en route to hospital would help inform the immediate care patients receive on arrival.
The scheme is also planning tests of live streaming of CCTV footage from public transport buses, which is designed to enableimmediate action against anti-social behaviour. “Intelligent cameras” using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify incidents could provide the opportunity for far greater coverage than is possible at present.
Minister for Digital, Margot James said, “5G has the potential to dramatically transform the way we go about our daily lives, and we want the citizens of the UK to be amongst the first to experience all the opportunities and benefits this new technology will bring. The West Midlands Testbed, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, will be instrumental in helping us realise this ambition.”