Robotic Research and Verizon Public Sector, a key Department of Defense digital transformation partner, have announced their joint support of an autonomous shuttle pilot project with US Ignite, Local Motors, and NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge as part of the 5G Living Lab at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, in San Diego.

Verizon Public Sector and MCAS Miramar announced the first-ever 5G Ultra Wideband deployment on a military base last July. Since then, in collaboration with a number of strategic partners, they have created a true testbed for innovation, exploring 5G-enabled innovations across autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and drones.

Robotic Research officials see the nationwide rollout of 5G as creating huge opportunities for autonomous vehicles by enabling higher-bandwidth and real-time sharing of data between vehicles and between vehicles and infrastructure. Among the other areas of focus being pursued, the 5G Labs team within Verizon is exploring the benefits of 5G around public safety, frictionless commerce, and energy management.

One area of innovation includes onboard safety attendants. Currently, in most autonomous shuttles, there is a steward who monitors the health and status of the vehicle. But as the autonomous industry continues to mature, it could follow a similar model to that of home security systems.

All that is required is a reliable data backbone, and Robotic Research officials see Verizon’s 5G network as the next step in the right direction.