UK unveils 5G-connected tram 

West Midlands 5G says trams can use on-board sensors to predict and respond to faults
Mobility as a Service / March 17, 2021
By Ben Spencer
WM5G says real-time information will help operators minimise crowding at stations (Credit - West Midlands Combined Authority)
WM5G says real-time information will help operators minimise crowding at stations (image credit: West Midlands Combined Authority)

West Midlands 5G (WM5G) has developed a 5G-connected tram in the UK in collaboration with West Midlands Metro, Transport for West Midlands, GoMedia and Icomera.

Trams collect a variety of information, including CCTV footage and vehicle performance and maintenance data. 

WM5G says this information is currently accessed and downloaded manually, outside the hours of operation. 

According to WM5G, 5G’s increased bandwidth allows for high-definition CCTV footage captured on the tram to be securely and remotely transferred to the Regional Traffic Control Centre while in operation.

This ability to transmit high-levels of data is expected to unlock opportunities to further strengthen passenger safety. 

It will also enable operators to more flexibly manage services to meet passenger demand and navigate challenges such as social distancing, the company adds. 

Access to real-time information such as passenger numbers will help operators establish capacity, minimise crowding in stations and onboard services. 

Matt Warman, UK digital infrastructure minister, says: “We have invested £200 million to explore how 5G can be the rocket fuel industries need to build back better and this is just one of a long list of projects to make the most of this ultrafast mobile technology.”

If deployed across the network, WM5G points out that 5G-connected trams could also utilise on-board sensors to help engineers remotely identify issues in carriages and across infrastructure, predicting and responding to faults before they occur.

Seven further transport trials across the region are currently underway, with WM5G investing £2.4m in seven UK-based consortiums, including a collaboration in which GoMedia, Wordnerds and Icomera will develop an artificial intelligence system that helps interpret live customer feedback over 5G.

In a separate project, AppyWay and Getmapping will develop a predictive parking system that uses 5G-enabled kerbside imaging to reduce the amount of time spent finding a parking space, 

The projects are scheduled to run until the end of 2021.


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