Vodafone 5G, MEC tech to enable driverless car rental hailing service

Vodafone 5G, MEC tech to enable driverless car rental hailing service

Vodafone Business recently announced that it is supporting Imperium Drive. This UK-based technology start-up offers a new approach to car rental services through its Fetch app.

The app allows customers to hire an electric car via their smartphone, which is then remotely driven by a human operator to the customer’s door for them to unlock and drive off.

According to Imperium Drive, this method offers customers a convenient way to rent cars.

Vodafone says it will provide the fast, reliable connectivity needed to enable customers to use an app to book and end a ride with a self-driving car. Once the ride is finished, a human operator will take control of the vehicle and drive it to its next destination.

Vodafone says 5G and Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) enable remote driving by providing fast speeds, low lag time and the capacity to transfer data quickly.

Imperium Drive conducted tests in the Fetch service area around Milton Keynes, UK, focusing on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph to measure the latency and performance of their 5G and MEC capabilities.

According to the companies, the project results demonstrate that 5G coverage is sufficient to support remote driving applications and enable safe driving at higher speeds. However, it will need to be further expanded to fully realize the benefits of autonomous vehicles.

That said, Vodafone suggests that governments and transport authorities should create regulations to use autonomous and remote driving technology on public roads safely. Additionally, telecom operators and remote driving technology providers should work together to address gaps in coverage and build the necessary road infrastructure.

In late 2020, Vodafone Business launched a service combining the fast response times of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) technology and 5G speeds. According to Vodafone, they were the first company in Europe to allow organizations to test applications using AWS Wavelength at the edge of its 4G and 5G networks.


Autonomous vehicles (AV), made possible through a combination of 5G and edge computing, have long been cited as a key use case for these technologies. Blithely saying this use case will drive adoption of 5G and/or edge computing ignores the reality of the limitations of 5G coverage, not to mention the regulatory hurdles and slow market adoption of cars capable of fully autonomous driving. That said, experiments such as these are worth noting because they are a necessary step towards systems that enable safer roads and more efficient transportation networks.

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