5G network now live at Mcity test facility

The University of Michigan's Mcity campus now features a 5G network for smart city autonomous vehicle safety testing.

The University of Michigan's Mcity transportation safety test facility now features a 5G network.

Verizon, an Mcity partner, installed its 5G Ultra Wideband network at the facility so it can test 5G solutions designed to boost pedestrian safety and avoid car accidents.

5G-connected cameras and signal controllers were installed at every intersection inside the Mcity test track to help identify traffic and pedestrian patterns to prevent collisions. The 5G network's high bandwidth and low latency allows data from automated vehicles, streetlight cameras, roadway sensors and traffic signals in a relatively small area to be transmitted nearly instantaneously. The technology enables autonomous vehicles to react faster than humans when it comes to braking to avoid a collision.

“With 5G, we can help drivers see things before the human eye can register and prevent collisions by changing the traffic signals when a safety risk is imminent,” said Eric Raamot, CTO at Econolite, which installed the signal controllers.

The 5G network "can have a profound impact on smart vehicle technology," Mcity Associate Director Greg McGuire said. "By giving the companies who are testing here access to Verizon’s 5G network, we’re hoping they can improve on their existing technology and potentially create applications that don’t even exist yet to make our roads and intersections safer.”

Mcity and its partners were recently awarded a $7.5 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for research, development and testing of self-driving technologies in Mcity and the American Center for Mobility test facilities in Detroit.

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