Hillwood offers Ericsson’s ‘Waze for wireless’ for driverless vehicle tests at MIZ test zone
Ericsson is working with US real estate developer Hillwood to offer a tool for autonomous and connected vehicle companies to access “secure and constant” 4G and 5G connectivity at the Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ) within the 27,000-acre AllianceTexas development in Fort Worth, in Texas. Said tool is Ericsson Routes, developed by an incubation unit of the same name within Ericsson’s Ericsson ONE accelerator, and described as “like a Waze for wireless cellular connectivity”.
Industrial and commercial real estate developer Hillwood is operating the AllianceTexas community, located within Denton County and Tarrant County in Texas, as a public-private partnership, which has so far created $100 billion in “economic impact” and 63,000 “direct jobs”, with plans to grow the residential community. It is home to the Fort Worth Alliance Airport, the country’s “first industrial airport”, and the Alliance Global Logistics Hub, its largest inland port.
The MIZ is presented as a “one-of-a-kind infrastructure… [providing] mobility visionaries full access to an unparalleled testing ecosystem, resources, and partnerships essential to comprehensively test, scale, and commercialize… technologies.” It has a developing record for priming new vehicular technologies, including a demo of a point-to-point unmanned aircraft system (UAS) package delivery with Bell Textron early last year.
Companies Wing, TuSimple, and Gatik have also tested new supply chain technologies at the MIZ site. The new partnership with Ericsson on the vendor’s Ericsson Routes product, which debuted in San Francisco earlier this year, is to provide vehicle companies with a “single integration point and a consistent prediction engine for autonomous vehicles across all their wireless service providers”.
Ericsson said: ”The service predicts secure connectivity along a path from point A to point B with its uplink blind spot detector. By collecting and measuring connectivity data insights, Ericsson Routes’ planning capabilities also help fleet managers address connectivity questions as new deployment areas are considered.” The service is available to all companies working in the MIZ area; it will be expanded for drone testing at the site later this year,
Russell Laughlin, executive vice president at Hillwood, said: “Partnering with Ericsson Routes and their technology leadership gives our customers world-class and cutting-edge services that will advance the mobility industry. This unique technology offers mobility leaders an opportunity to be at the forefront of ensuring their products have the connectivity they need to operate now and well into the future.”
Daniel Alexus, head of Ericsson ONE, said: “Ericsson believes that wireless cellular connectivity is essential to mobility. Companies need to know and trust that connectivity will be seamless before sending an autonomous vehicle onto the road to deliver groceries or a drone to inspect a power line. Ericsson Routes provides this insurance, and we’re excited to see it grow at the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone.”