OpenRAN for UK 5G AI smart city deployment

July 09, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
OpenRAN for UK 5G AI smart city deployment
Accelleran’s cloud-based OpenRAN technology feeds the real-time data used for AI algorithms in a traffic management deployment in Manchester with Attocore

Dutch software developer Accelleran has been selected to supply the 5G radio access network for the Smart Junctions 5G (SJ5G) project under way in the UK.

Led by Vivacity Labs and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the SJ5G consortium’s objective is to develop and deploy a next generation traffic signal optimisation system using artificial intelligence (AI). Real-time data coming from a low-latency 5G private network, which is needed by SJ5G’s AI algorithms, will be managed via Accelleran’s dRAX software.

AttoCore will supply its Atto5GC Standalone Core to the private network, which will be implemented in the n77 spectrum band (3.8GHz-4.2GHz). Atto5GC is implemented as Docker containers within a Kubernetes architecture and can be deployed in the clud or at the network edge on low end servers collocated with street furniture.

Manchester is one of the UK’s top five most congested cities,- with commuters spending an average of 94 hours every year stuck in traffic jams. The SJ5G project will see 10 junctions on a busy 1.5km long route through the centre of the city will be served by traffic light-mounted 5G small cells.

Data captured by distributed sensor devices will be sent to the cloud via these small cells, so that an AI-based system can then schedule signalling and prioritise traffic flows accordingly. This will enable a significant shortening of waiting times, reduce congestion levels during peak periods and also improve the local air quality due to less pollution.

Accelleran is delivering a turnkey OpenRAN network that integrates the dRAX platform with radio units (RUs) and distributed units (DUs) from its OpenRAN ecosystem partners. dRAX provides a highly-scalable, cloud-native and micro-services based set of software components. Among these functions are the service management and orchestration (SMO), the RAN intelligent controller (RIC), plus control plane and user plane interfacing with the central unit (CU).

“We are excited to be selected for the SJ5G project and will help to make it a success through the delivery of a complete turnkey 5G OpenRAN network,” said Stan Claes, CMO of Accelleran. “Our dRAX platform will be right at the heart of this system, controlling the data flows that are essential to the overall operation.”

“SJ5G underlines the suitability of our software technology to address a wide array of different 5G-oriented smart city initiatives, and we expect to see many more opportunities like this emerge in the future,” he said.

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