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UK 5G pilot will transform a 40-tonne HGV into an autonomous vehicle

Vantec HGVs.
(Image credit: Vantec.)

As part of a new £4.9m scheme, which secured £2.4m of government funding from the UK government’s ‘5G Create’ initiative, a consortium of technology and logistics companies will automate a 40-tonne HGV, enabling the removal of drivers from the delivery process, also known as last-mile logistics.

The project, based in Sunderland, will use 5G technology in an “operational automotive environment” for the very first time in the UK, according to the launch announcement, with North, a leading IoT company in the UK, winning the job to design, build and support the £4.9m project. 

"We need to see more innovative projects such as this being driven forward across different sectors and UK regions.”

Glen Williams, North.

“This is a significant milestone for 5G standalone technology in the UK,” explained Glen Williams, chief executive at North. “We know that the potential of 5G is tremendous, however, to realise it, we need to see more innovative projects such as this being driven forward across different sectors and UK regions.”

Connected Automated Logistics

The project, taking place over the next 12-18 months, will see North partner with Nokia, in a partnership which, it is hoped, will establish the North East as a global leader in advanced logistics, especially in the area of Connected Automated Logistics (CAL).

“Participation in this landmark initiative comprises a major step forward in the development of autonomous IoT-based logistics, and presents an outstanding showcase for Nokia 5G standalone private wireless capability as a key enabler,” said Phil Siveter, head of Nokia UK and Ireland.

Funding for the CAL pilot was secured by a consortium of companies and organisations which included The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, StreetDrone and Perform Green.

"5G enabled automated logistics is the next key innovation drive for last mile logistics across the automotive sector."

Paul Butler, NEAA.

“5G enabled automated logistics is the next key innovation drive for last mile logistics across the automotive sector,” said Paul Butler, chief executive for the North East Automobile Alliance (NEAA). “This project has the potential to deliver significant efficiency gains and put the North East at the forefront of connected and automated logistics technology.”

The partners secured £2.4m in funding from ‘5G Create’, a £30m competition combining British creativity with 5G use cases, which is part of the UK government’s £200 million 5G testbeds and trials programme (5GTT).

As the prime contractor, North will put the infrastructure in place required to test and demonstrate the operational 5G-enabled autonomous delivery.

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.