Telenor said Swedish innovation agency Vinnova has provided funding for Sweden’s first trials of driverless cars on public roads this spring. KTH Royal Institute of Technology will lead the project while Telenor will contribute its experience in 5G and edge computing. Other project members are Volvo Cars and Swedish company Xense Vision, which makes traffic sensors.

The Xense Vision sensors use stereo camera capability to measure distances between pixels in an image. This is similar to LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which has often been used in self-driving vehicle trials, but with a higher resolution. Vehicles, pedestrians and other objects are detected in 3D and their exact positions sent instantly to nearby connected vehicles, to complement their own sensor data.

Some of the funding for the project comes from Vinnova and some from Avancerad Digitalisering, a scheme started in 2021 by ABB, Ericsson, Saab, Vinnova and the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries (Teknikforetagen). Project members will develop a research test bed in conjunction with the Trustworthy Edge Computing Systems and Applications (TECoSA) research centre.

Telenor said the 5G mobile network will carry data traffic and support sensors to enable the autonomous vehicles to interact with their environment, such as with traffic lights. Malina Borg Sigg, 5G expert at Telenor, held out the prospect of fewer accidents caused by human error, and lower energy use thanks to “smart” management. Self-driving vehicles could improve conditions in the transport sector, and create new services and business models that make vehicle use more efficient.

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