Sustainable mobility innovator Ohmio has collaborated with Spark New Zealand and has tested the country’s first 5G-connected driverless car.
The driverless car’s test has been carried out 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.
In a statement released by Spark, Ohmio’s Head of Research and Development, Dr Mahmood Hikmet said, “We believe this test with Spark is only the second of its type in the world. Today has demonstrated some of the exciting opportunities 5G will enable for our autonomous car technology.”
Hikmet continued, “A 5G network can be up to 100x faster than 4G, which unlocks the true potential for autonomous driving, as messages need to be transmitted and decisions made in real-time. A significant drop in latency – or the reaction time when one device talks to another – will give cars human-like reflexes and opens up multiple possibilities for connected infrastructure and a smart city ecosystem.”
The 5G-connected car carries up to four people. Using a tablet, passengers are able to hail the car which moves down the street to collect you. Inside, a dashboard tells you what the car is monitoring in real time using *LiDAR technology to help make sense of the surrounding environment.
Ohmio plans to launch more driverless cars in more closed facilities across New Zealand, including airports, university campuses, retirement villages and hospitals.