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AN UBER BE­SPOKE au­tonomous ve­hi­cle test­ing fa­cil­ity us­ing 5G telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy has been un­veiled in Swe­den, which can “sim­u­late vir­tu­ally any traf­fic sit­u­a­tion in any city on the planet”, it’s been re­ported re­cently.

Known as As­taZero – a de­vel­op­ment of the state- owned Re­search In­sti­tutes of Swe­den (RISE) in part­ner­ship with Charm­ers Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy – it is able to “blend the vir­tual world, e.g., the iconic Arc de Tri­om­phe traf­fic sys­tem in Paris, or Times Square in New York, with real ve­hi­cles and real peo­ple sta­tioned around the track,” the or­gan­i­sa­tion claims.

By us­ing the lat­est in 5G con­nec­tiv­ity and dis­trib­uted cloud ser­vices, As­taZero – with parts look­ing like a Hol­ly­wood movie set – is said to be able to mix test ve­hi­cles with vir­tual ve­hi­cles. “This en­ables re­al­is­tic and a com­pletely new level of traf­fic com­plex­ity and real-world ap­pli­ca­tions in the test loop, in­clud­ing the­o­ret­i­cal traf­fic en­vi­ron­ments in which au­tonomous ve­hi­cles share roads and pave­ments along­side drones, cy­clists or pedes­tri­ans.”

This is a first step to­wards a com­pletely new type of test en­vi­ron­ment that pro­vides the data nec­es­sary to pre­dict ve­hi­cle be­hav­iour in real-life sit­u­a­tions with­out the need for on-the-road test­ing, says As­taZero.

Es­tab­lished in 2014, As­taZero – whose key in­dus­trial part­ners in­clude Sca­nia and Volvo – is the first test fa­cil­ity in the world ded­i­cated to au­to­mated driv­ing and ac­tive safety of ground ve­hi­cles. The com­bi­na­tion of prov­ing ground de­sign and ad­vanced real-time data anal­y­sis en­ables au­to­mated ve­hi­cle test­ing that was un­think­able a year ago, ac­cord­ing to the en­tity.

Engi­neers at the test fa­cil­ity in Gothen­burg, Swe­den, pre­dict that it will speed up de­vel­op­ment ten­fold. This will be wel­comed by man­u­fac­tur­ers in an in­dus­try ex­pected to be worth $7 tril­lion by 2050.

“The au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try clearly needs bet­ter, faster and much more com­plex test fa­cil­i­ties be­fore new self- driv­ing prod­ucts can be safely tested on pub­lic roads,” said Pe­ter Jan­vik, CEO of As­taZero.

“As­taZero is un­veil­ing the world’s most ad­vanced test en­vi­ron­ment with 5G speed and ac­cu­racy that can repli­cate real-world traf­fic com­plex­ity un­likely any­thing that’s been seen be­fore,” he ex­plained.

As­taZero caters for five dif­fer­ent test en­vi­ron­ments: bike test area, city area, a mul­ti­lane road, ru­ral road and a flex­i­ble high-speed area. To­gether, they form a com­pre­hen­sive set of key en­vi­ron­ments for re­search and de­vel­op­ment of au­to­mated driv­ing. To this, As­taZero is now adding Su­per Mul­ti­lane with un­sur­passed con­sumer test­ing and le­gal re­quire­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties. This is the only one of its kind in Europe and the most ad­vanced in the world, or­gan­is­ers state.

There is no data limit in the mixed-re­al­ity sys­tem thanks to the ca­pac­ity of the 5G net­work, de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with WARA- CAT2, Eric­s­son and PTS3, says As­taZero. This also al­lows the site to cre­ate com­plex tests with key part­ners in the au­to­mated ve­hi­cle ecosys­tem, in­clud­ing tele­com op­er­a­tors, end-user equip­ment de­vel­op­ers, phone man­u­fac­tur­ers and third-party de­vel­op­ers. This en­ables the cre­ation of dis­torted en­vi­ron­ments in which huge amounts of air­borne data traf­fic in­flu­ence the ef­fec­tive­ness of con­nected and/or au­tonomous ve­hi­cles.

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