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Cambridge’s second 5G testbed proves its worth at CW demo day displays



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Three companies contributed dazzling displays of the potential of 5G at the Cambridge Wireless (CW) 5G testbed last week.

Epitomical vehicle at CW 5G Testbed demo day. Picture: Keith Heppell
Epitomical vehicle at CW 5G Testbed demo day. Picture: Keith Heppell

HADO UK, Epitomical and Cambridge Sensoriis were participants in the second cohort of the testbed at the Bio-Innovation Centre on Cambridge Science Park.

5G private networks are a hotbed of technological innovation in the UK, enabling companies to develop their products in a closed 5G world ahead of the new standard being fully rolled out globally.

The CW 5G testbed is working with partners to push the technological boundaries of 5G and create the solutions of a future that is closer than many may think. The first took place in July: successes included the first-ever 5G video call between Chile and the UK.

“5G private network testbeds are an essential addition to the UK’s R&D offering, enabling SMEs to integrate 5G technology at speed, to overcome issues promptly and get a more advanced product to market ahead of their competition,” said Simon Mead, CW’s CEO.

“An engineering team can customise a private network such as the CW 5G testbed to its needs, access the full range of 5G features and test a variety of connectivity scenarios, rather than depending on the more limited features and bandwidth typical of a public network.”

The three UK companies are working on the cutting edge of technology as 5G emerges out of the theoretical and into the real world. All three are leveraging the new wireless standard to break fresh ground across multiple industries and give themselves a true first mover advantage.

Tom Park, operations manager for HADO UK, during a display at Bio-Innovation Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell
Tom Park, operations manager for HADO UK, during a display at Bio-Innovation Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

HADO UK is a Coventry-based augmented reality (AR) sports developer and distributor. Its popular screen-based sport activity showed how 5G can support teams playing each other remotely.

Epitomical is a Surrey-based company which has designed the Autorover, an autonomous connected vehicle transforming critical worker’s abilities to perform tasks in dangerous environments thanks to the real-time teleoperations and new robotic arm from Extend Robotics on its 5G-enabled mobile rover platform.

Cambridge Sensoriis, experts in radar technology, are bringing a new level of safety to the UK’s roads and skies with their novel cloud computing solution that can position, track and monitor moving vehicles to an accuracy of a few centimetres.

HADO UK 5G Dem at CW 5G Demo Day: the phone slots in to a VR headset to play a game in 5G. Picture: Mike Scialom
HADO UK 5G Dem at CW 5G Demo Day: the phone slots in to a VR headset to play a game in 5G. Picture: Mike Scialom

The demo day on Wednesday (October 20) saw the trio show off the potential of their 5G advances at the Bio-Innovation Centre. Outside was Epitomical, whose autonomous vehicle was shown operating in the car park.

Director Danish Alam said: “Advances in sensor technology, computing power, and edge processing together with advanced AI capabilities makes collaboration between man and machine inevitable. Innovative communications technology like 5G will enable machines to talk to the cloud and each other in ways not previously possible.

“The accelerator has allowed us to demonstrate the benefits of native 5G capability between our Autorover and users using high bandwidth, low latency and private 5G networks.”

Cambridge Sensoriis were also in the car park. The company’s RadarAware systems offer a critical component of the drone, driverless cars and autonomous vehicle revolution. The data it provides to drivers, or remote handlers, operates at high resolution and from long distances. CEO Steve Clark gave the presentation of the collision avoidance capabilities of the software, which can be embedded in a drone as well as into on-road vehicles.

He said: “The support we’ve had, both technically and commercially, has greatly helped us test and refine our highly sensitive radar systems which will be critical for the autonomous vehicle revolution.

“Sensoriis is now well positioned to provide the necessary radar solutions for the newly dawning and exciting age of autonomous drones, cars, and industrial vehicles.”

HADO UK’s team had a player in the car park playing an AR game against another player in the reception area of the Bio-Innovation Centre. Inside the AR headset as a a standard iPhone running an app which facilitated the game thanks to precise positioning and tracking of the ball during play.

Steve Clark from Cambridge Sensoriis at the CW 5G Testbed Accelerator 2 demo day. Picture: Keith Heppell
Steve Clark from Cambridge Sensoriis at the CW 5G Testbed Accelerator 2 demo day. Picture: Keith Heppell

“There’s huge enjoyment in sports from people who don’t normally play sports,” HADO director Jim Sephton told the indoors audience, adding that with 5G HADO offers games displays that are refreshed 24 times a second.

“It’s coded to that – if it was less than 24 frames per second you’d see jitter and lag in the frames. 5G stops jitter and the lag, whereas on open networks you can physically see the jitter.

“5G has allowed us to create a stable platform to run remote play matches for a physical sport, something that has purely been the domain of eSports until now.”

The level of support available to both the engineering and commercial teams is a significant differentiator for companies on the 5G private network, which is underpinned by Huawei at Cambridge Science Park.

In the CW 5G Testbed, developers had full access to technical experts from CW and Huawei to ensure that the companies developed the in-house knowledge to succeed with this new generation of wireless technology, and that the 5G integration and testing process remained on-schedule.

The SMEs receive support in marketing, sales and partnership-building, with highlights including a strong brand presence for the SMEs at Connected Britain 2021 and private introductions to potential partners.

“Our testbed participants did a fantastic job at demonstrating not just how 5G has improved their products, but how these new 5G-enabled solutions have the ability to transform society and industry,” said Abhi Naha, CCO, CW. “The day has been a great success for all involved and we’re looking forward to continuing to help them.”

The third accelerator on the CW 5G testbed will start in spring 2022.



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