It’s full speed ahead for the £2.4 million Connected and Automated Logistics (CAL) pilot as initial testing of 5G connections commence at Nissan’s test track.

The pilot, which has seen funding secured by the innovative consortium comprising of the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, StreetDrone and Perform Green will see pioneering 5G technology used in an operational automotive environment for the very first time in the UK.

Consortium partners secured £2.4 million from 5G Create, a £30 million open competition combining British creativity with innovative new uses for 5G, part of the UK government’s £200 million 5G testbeds and trials programme (5GTT).

The North East Automotive Alliance continues to lead the development of zero emission automated logistics and as the collaborative 5G CAL pilot gets underway, Paul Butler, CEO North East Automotive Alliance and Ross James, Project Engineer at StreetDrone recently visited Nissan’s test track, in and around the Vantec Europe site to monitor initial testing. The Nissan NV200 was used as the test mule vehicle of the teleoperation connection to check connection to the 5G network from the vehicle to a workstation on site at Vantec Europe as part of the initial tests.

Patrick Melia, Chief Executive, Sunderland City Council, said: “The initial test trials are an instrumental stage in the CAL pilot and the North East is leading the way in 5G and connected and automated logistics. We are delighted to play a key role alongside consortium partners to drive forward this pioneering technology.”

It is widely recognised that Connected and Automated Logistics (CAL) have the potential to provide significant cost benefits to UK manufacturing. The funded pilot will deliver a huge stride forward in CAL, proving last mile delivery for an autonomous HGV up to 40 tonnes on a private road. 5G is essential as it will uniquely enable the removal of the safety driver from the process, allowing remote teleoperations to overcome abnormal situations.

Patrick Melia, Chief Executive, Sunderland City Council, added: “An ongoing drive for operational efficiency is key to maintaining the region’s competitiveness in the North East automotive sector and we look forward to announcing further developments as the pilot progresses.”

Find out more about the 5G CAL project in this vlog from Paul Butler, CEO at  North East Automotive Alliance and Ross James of StreetDrone. 

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