Convoys of ‘self-driving’ lorries get green light for UK trial

Platoons of self-driving lorries will be trialled on Britain’s motorways, but some experts have raised concerns over their safety.

UK Trade Lorries
Image:Platooning vehicle tests on motorways are to start before the end of 2017

The Government has committed £8.1m to finance trials of semi-autonomous “platooning” lorries.

The system involves a “platoon leader” driving a heavy goods vehicle at the head of a small convoy, with the following trucks, or “drones”, being piloted by computers.

The trucks drive close behind one another and are linked electronically, communicating via radar, GPS and wifi.

The driver of the lead truck determines the route, speed and position, and controls acceleration, braking and steering for the entire convoy.

The distance between the trucks is optimised to reduce air drag, cutting fuel consumption and emissions – potentially by up to 20%.

Roads minister Paul Maynard announced the funding for a pilot scheme during a visit to DAF’s Leyland truck plant in Lancashire.

“We believe this system has the potential not just to save fuel and therefore emissions, but also to reduce congestion on our roads”, he said.

“It’s potentially win-win all round, and this investment is to ensure we are at the forefront of this new technology.”

Driverless lorries may be the next thing on our roads
Image:DAF’s Leyland truck plant in Lancashire has been awarded the contract for the trials

The results of trials in the US, Sweden and Germany have been positive. But some experts have concerns that Britain’s roads may not be ideal for so-called “driverless” lorries.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “I think the real problem in Britain is that we have some of the most congested motorways in the world.

“We have more exits and entries on our motorways than any other motorway system.

“So what that means is either the platoon would have to break up at entries or exits or indeed, pull over, and that could cause problems for drivers in other cars trying to get on the motorway or get off.”

DAF has been working on the technology for some time, and has been awarded the contract for the trials, which will be monitored and evaluated by the independent Transport Research Laboratory.

Richard Cuerden from TRL said: “The primary issue is one of safety, but these trials will hopefully allow us to collect a lot of data about not just the technology, but the behaviour of both the truck drivers and other road users.”

The drone vehicles are not unmanned, they will have drivers to take control in case of emergency, and to enter and leave the platoons.

Those drivers will have monitors to show them the platoon leader’s view of the road ahead to keep them in the “information loop”.

The first trials will be on test tracks. But the first platooning vehicle tests on major roads are scheduled to start before the end of next year.

Later in the trials, delivery firm DHL will join the scheme to test the real world practicality and potential benefits of platooning.

5G done testing by BT Labs prove successful

5G to control drones and keep them airborne

5G drone trial

In a test carried out by uVue, a drone was successfully operated over BT’s pre-5G network slicing testbed at BT Labs, Martlesham in Suffolk.

The network slice (which is a virtual network partitioned away from the main network with dynamically allocated resources), apparently worked perfectly, with Maria Cuevas, BT’s Head of Converged Core Network and Services Research noting that:

“The demonstration was most effective in showing that we are able to protect a private ‘slice’ of the network for uVue’s drone as the rest of the network was deliberately overloaded. The slice allocated to drone control remained perfectly functional and stable, enabling the drone to remain responsive to the pilot’s control at all times.”

And this wasn’t just a fluke, as well over 100 flights were executed, proving that this is a viable method of drone control.

And not only is it viable, but also advantageous, as it allows drones to operate with existing air traffic control systems, and even in its pre-5G state is capable of streaming high-definition video from the drones across the network at low latency – in this case allowing the footage to be displayed to an audience.

Russ Delaney, Director of Tech Ops at uVue, an ex-British Army helicopter instructor and drone pilot summed up the potential, saying:

“I was delighted at how responsive the drone control was over the mobile network and at how reliable the private slice was. Delivery of real-time low latency HD video footage back over the network provided a completely new standard for ‘eye in the sky’. This is a key milestone in UAV development, showing that cellular networks have immense potential to provide uncompromised drone control and hence air safety.

The video below simply shows a uVue drone demonstration, not connected to the trials performed at BT Labs.

Source: 5G James Rogerson

Leagoo to compete with domestic rivals in the premier league

Rising Leagoo targets rivals Huawei, Lenovo

Upcoming China-based smartphone company Leagoo plans to step up global competition with its domestic rivals, after announcing a branding partnership with Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur.

Leagoo, founded in 2009, counts more than 50 million customers worldwide and said it is now a top ten brand based on its strength in Africa and Asia.

The company is looking to boost its business presence globally through a five year partnership with the football club, as well as create a new range of Tottenham Hotspur branded phones and accessories for customers and fans around the world.

Speaking at a press conference at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground in London, Leagoo’s CEO Johnson Zhuang (pictured, centre) said while rivals Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo were more established, he was confident in his company’s ability to “move faster”.

“We can achieve things quickly and are very active in what we want to achieve,” he said, adding: “For a company like Huawei it may take six months to a year to launch something. We can do it in a month.”

“We also look to bring product innovations and we are focused on providing a different experience.”

Most connected UK stadium
Tottenham Hotspur’s head of partnerships Fran Jones added the club opted to partner with Leagoo, and not a more established player, because it saw similarities in the way the two companies were planning to grow.

Indeed, Tottenham has seen a dramatic upturn both on and off the pitch in recent years.

The club finished runners up in their domestic league last year, and is currently building a new 61,000 seater stadium, which is set to be ready in 2018.

“We are always keen to work with brands that are hungry and trying to grow their business, and we saw synergies in the way they are conducting themselves and the way we are conducting ourselves,” Jones said.

Today’s press conference saw the club roll out a number of first team players, including 2016/17 Premier League top scorer, Harry Kane (pictured, second left).

Jones added Tottenham Hotspur was looking to ensure its new stadium will be “the best connected” in the UK, with the potential of striking partnerships with mobile operators.

He also added the company looked forward to working with UK operator EE this year, when the club temporarily play their home games at Wembley stadium while the new ground is being built.

Source: Mobile World Live

Mobile reception not up to scratch on UK trains

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Mobile reception train-hack-featured-1not up to scratch on UK trains

Study reveals half of UK train commuters face poor and unreliable mobile connectivity

Cobham Wireless, providers of mobile communications systems, reports that commuters are frustrated with the state of mobile signal reception on train journeys up and down the UK. Results of a national online survey indicate that 52% of passengers are prevented from working some of the time during their commute, potentially stopping them from being able to check emails, stay in touch with clients and colleagues or access files remotely.
 
The survey, conducted by YouGov, which polled over 2,000 consumers across Britain revealed passengers’ frustrations about the lack of mobile connectivity during their commute or business trip, which was preventing them from working on train journeys. The survey canvassed the opinions of commuters that use train routes throughout the UK, with half of their journeys lasting longer than 30 minutes.

Despite the option to use Wi-Fi on some train services the results of the survey clearly indicated a strong preference among respondents (51%) to connecting to the internet via their mobile provider compared to connecting to a public Wi-Fi network (36%). When asked why they prefer to connect to the internet using their mobile service, a resounding 63% expressed concerns about the security of Wi-Fi networks on trains; also 41% disliked having to share personal information to connect to train Wi-Fi.

The survey also revealed that the quality of mobile phone reception on trains up and down the UK varies.

  • Only 33% of passengers felt that mobile signal reception was good enough to connect them to the internet.
  • Up to a quarter (24%) didn’t rate their service at all, stating that mobile phone coverage was poor.

Even train Wi-Fi doesn’t make the grade:

  • Only 13% of commuters stating that the service was any good.
  • Another 22% stated that Wi-Fi wasn’t available at all on their train route.

Ingo Flömer, Director of Product Management, Cobham Wireless said: “The research has revealed that in these hyper connected times the majority of commuters expect to be able to connect to the internet on trains via their mobile service provider. Unfortunately, because of a lack of mobile phone coverage passengers find it difficult to work during their business commute, unable to browse the internet, send emails, or even make phone calls.

“On-board Wi-Fi doesn’t live up to expectations either. Rail passengers would much rather stay connected to the internet via their mobile service because it’s more secure and more convenient to use. This is good news for mobile operators and the rail companies looking to improve the standard of service they offer to their customers, giving them the opportunity to satisfy the demand for better quality mobile coverage on trains,” added Flomer.

He concluded: “Passengers are already frustrated with disruptions to rail services caused by delays, industrial action and maintenance, with major works taking place at Waterloo station in London and on services between Cardiff and Newport. These frustrations are compounded by train fares increasing year on year. The results of the study are clear, more investment in mobile phone coverage would go a long way to improving passenger’s train journey experience and ensure they stay connected to work during their busy commute.”

Source: Cobham Wireless/YouGov

Mobile contactless payments hits £370 million in first half of 2017

Contactless spend has now reached £9 billion across the same period. In comparison contactless payments hit the £10 billion mark for the whole of 2016

Mobile contactless transactions have topped £370 million in the first six months of 2017, a 336 per cent year-on-year surge.

This is according to debit and credit payment processor Worldpay. In the UK contactless spend has now reached £9 billion across the same period. In comparison contactless payments hit the £10 billion mark for the whole of 2016.

Contributing to the numbers was the launch of Apple Pay in 2015 and further fuelled by Android Pay in 2016, followed by Samsung Pay in May.

According to Worldpay contactless payments “has begun to gain widespread acceptance beyond early adopters”.

Monthly spending on mobile devices has risen 57 per cent in the last six months, £46 million was spent in January which rose to £74 million in June.

Spending on all forms of contactless systems now accounts for 38 per cent of all non-cash transactions in the UK.

Cutting up cards

Worldpay UK chief marketing officer James Frost (pictured) said: “Mobile spending has shaken off the novelty tag, and is breaking its own spending records virtually every month.

“Granted there’s still some way to go before we start cutting up our cards and chucking away our wallets, but it’s easy to see why everyone from start-ups to tech giants is eager to have a stake in the technology.

“We’re now seeing pockets of incredible growth in mobile adoption right across the country with the South East of England accounting for 15 per cent of total spend and the North West making up 10 per cent.”

Source: Mobile News

NTT, Ericsson, Toyota forge connected car partnership

 

Companies from the technology and automotive sectors formed a consortium focused on creating the network architecture to handle the deluge of data expected to be generated by connected cars.

The newly-formed Automotive Edge Computing Consortium (AECC) includes Ericsson, Intel, NTT, NTT Docomo and Toyota and aims to define best network practice for the new architecture.

It is also set to investigate methods of delivering technologies including intelligent driving and maps updated with real-time data.

The companies predict data transmitted between connected vehicles and cloud networks will be 10,000 times larger than recorded currently and is likely to reach 10 exabytes per month in 2025.

AECC will attempt to define suitable network architecture and industry best practice standards for how the cars interface with the network.

In a joint statement the members said the increase in data would: “Trigger the need for new architectures of network and computing infrastructure to support distributed resources and topology-aware storage capacity. The architectures will be compliant with applicable standards, which requires collaboration on a local and global scale”.

The group expects to announce new members in the coming months.

AECC is one of a number of partnerships formed by companies throughout the world to accelerate the development of connected vehicle technology across various markets. Members include app companies, technology vendors, network operators and automotive companies.

Source: Mobile World Live

This smart ‘tree’ has the environmental benefits of a small forest

A green hut is pictured at the Grand Palais during the Solutions COP21 in Paris, France, December 4, 2015 as the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) continues at Le Bourget near the French capital. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RTX1X7L7

There is a growing trend towards using technology to tackle pollution.

Urban planners have a balancing act to perform.On  the one hand, green spaces in cities provide an obvious low-tech way to help remedy the growing problem of air pollution. But on the other, they are costly to maintain and space-intensive when inner-city land is at a premium.

Image: Green City Solutions

So a single ‘tree’ that has the environmental benefits of a small forest has the potential to be a game changer – and that’s exactly what CityTrees are hoping to be.

Created by start-up Green City Solutions, the freestanding, vertical units are covered in moss and lichens which have a massive surface area to absorb particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone.

Image: Green City Solutions

The trees’ inventors estimate that a single structure has the environmental benefits of 275 urban trees, but taking up 99% less space and at just 5% of the cost.

Growing on units four metres high and three metres deep, CityTrees are powered by solar panels and collect rainwater in troughs. They also require little maintenance: via the internet of things, soil humidty, nutrient levels and general plant health are monitored and adjusted accordingly.

The carbon footprint of producing a CityTree is four tons, which is more than offset in the space of a year: the manufacturer estimates each unit will capture 240 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

So far, the product has been rolled out in several cities in countries including Norway, France, Germany, Belgium, Macedonia and Hong Kong.

Although each tree costs around $25,000, the cost can be mitigated by the potential for advertising on the trees via logos and screens on the unit.

The invention is part of a growing trend towards using technology to tackle pollution.

From air vacuum cleaners to smog diamonds, innovation to combat the problem is at the cutting edge of science.

3 UK seeks High Court review of 5G auction rules

3 UK seeks High Court review of 5G auction rules – Mobile World Live 3 UK seeks High Court review of 5G auction rules – Mobile World Live

3 UK is set to launch a legal challenge against Ofcom’s rules for an upcoming 4G and 5G spectrum auction, which the operator said fails to address competition concerns.

A company representative confirmed it notified Ofcom of its intent to seek a judicial review in the UK’s High Court. It expects the process to be complete by early 2018 – a timeline it said would not impact the country’s 5G rollout timetable.

However, as the UK’s auctions for 4G and 5G spectrum were scheduled to be held by the end of 2017, legal action would significantly delay the allocation process.

In a statement, the company representative said: “It is absolutely vital that the regulator gets this auction right for the long-term benefit of all consumers. For a relatively short process, we feel it is a proportionate response to request an independent review of Ofcom’s proposal, which we feel unduly puts at risk its stated objective of a competitive four-player market and is to the detriment of UK consumers.”

The move comes as little surprise. 3 is a long-term critic of the division of spectrum in the UK and threatened action if Ofcom failed to address the market dominance of BT and Vodafone with its auction rules.

In its subsequent announcement, the regulator said it would impose a spectrum cap to limit the participation of the UK’s largest operators in the 3.4GHz band – earmarked for 5G. Its new rules also effectively banned EE from bidding on 40MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum also set to be allocated.

Following the announcement, 3 slammed Ofcom for not going far enough, with CEO Dave Dyson describing the rules as a “kick in the teeth” for consumers.

Although Telefonica’s O2 UK was also critical of Ofcom’s new guidelines, it appeared to rule out legal action, highlighting the importance of pressing ahead with the auction quickly.

Source: Mobile World Live

KORE and Cooltrax Partner to Provide Uninterrupted Real-Time Cold Chain Management

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Leaders in IoT Infrastructure and Real-Time Cold Chain Management Deliver Seamless Temperature Reporting for Fixed and Mobile Assets

KORE, the people powering IoT innovations and opportunities, today announced an expanded partnership with Cooltrax, the leader for real-time cold chain management of fixed, mobile, and product-level assets. KORE’s reliable, seamless network coupled with Cooltrax’s cold chain management solutions help provide real-time information for cold chain fleets, as well as fixed assets, allowing for less food waste and increased food safety. Along with the partnership, KORE is assisting Cooltrax to obtain AT&T LTE network certification.

Cooltrax’s suite of products, powered by the KORE network, track the location of refrigerated trailers and perishable products. Their solutions also monitor all performance aspects of refrigerator units, delivering independent temperature monitoring using combined telemetry and wireless technologies. Cooltrax solutions monitor the temperature in real time in cold storage warehouses, retail and food-service refrigeration units and other climate controlled facilities using wireless tags and readers. For cold chain fleets, as well as fixed assets, it’s imperative to have up-to-date information on temperature, location and functionality to avoid possible food safety issues and the loss of product due to spoiling.

KORE enables all Cooltrax solutions and products to deliver real-time business intelligence to supply chain managers through a single, web-based interface, 24/7, from anywhere in the world. The Cooltrax Business Intelligence platform allows for customized real-time and scheduled reporting on event-based conditions including geocode/fence activity, door opening activity, temperature monitoring point variations and a variety of other events, allowing for constant control and overview of assets and environmental performance within the cold chain.

“With the 2G sunset and eventual discontinuation of 3G, it’s imperative that our solutions operate at the highest level. KORE’s LTE offering enables us to deliver the service our customers demand,” said Chris Hughes, president, Cooltrax. “KORE has been an invaluable partner in enabling service provider certification for our solutions. Our customers need real-time information on temperatures, locations and overall cold chain asset visibility and performance and KORE allows us to provide that information seamlessly.”

“Secure, managed connectivity is a critical element in cold chain management,” said Alex Brisbourne, CEO, KORE. “Our longstanding relationship with Cooltrax has focused on supporting their in-service business goals, which demand the long-term service assurance of LTE services provided by KORE over its global hub and helps provide critical solutions for cold chain businesses to ensure high standards and safe delivery to their customers.”

To learn more about how KORE can help you with device certification and your secure, managed fleet tracking connectivity needs, please visit http://www.koretelematics.com.

About KORE

KORE provides the people, expertise and technology to support the many visions of the IoT, from the Inspiration of Things to the Innovation of Things to the Internet of Things. Founded in 2003, KORE quickly rose to become the world’s largest managed network services provider specializing in Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) communications. Today, KORE is a global leader in software service and platforms that power the IoT, with millions of active on-network units. KORE is the brand powering other leading brands, including some of the world’s largest enterprise customers. KORE’s singular customer-centric focus is to identify and develop solutions that help clients realize IoT innovations and accelerate time-to-market schedules. KORE has over 350 people who serve customers in 110 countries, empowering new business models and opportunities to monetize the IoT. KORE: the people powering IoT. For more information, visit www.korewireless.com, read the KORE blog and connect with KORE on LinkedInGoogle+Facebook,TwitterYouTube and Vimeo.

About Cooltrax

Cooltrax brings unique value and confidence to its customers by providing comprehensive wireless temperature monitoring, GPS-based asset tracking, and web-enabled business intelligence tools to better manage and control the physical quality and informational integrity of their cold chain operations. For additional information, please visit the Cooltrax website at www.cooltrax.com.

Source; Kore/Cootrax

Co-Star to Showcase Latest Technologies at FCS Business Radio 2017

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VTI-logo-web

Co-Star, the UK’s leading supplier to the mobile communications industry will be exhibiting at the FCS Business Radio and Vehicle Technology Installer event at Chateau Impney Droitwich Spa on the 16th November.

Co-Star will be sowcasing the latest mobile communications technologies including: Cradlepoint and Sierra Wireless Routers, 4G LTE Antennas, RAM Mounting Solutions, HSD Connectors, Twin Port FAKRA Connectors and USB Power Supplies.

This unique event for the communiccations industry sets out to encompass the latest developments and emerging oppurtunities for the future.

For more information on the event please contact the FCS.

Source: Co-Star