Mobile connectivity has established itself at the heart of cutting-edge automotive development, and to underline its role as a leading technology partner for the integrated development and validation of intelligent and connected vehicles, Vodafone Business has worked with Porsche Engineering to establish Europe’s first 5G hybrid mobile private network (MPN) at Nardò Technical Center (NTC).
Owned by Porsche and operated by Porsche Engineering, the proving ground in southern Italy now offers its customers a real-time communications network, which promises reduced delays, wider bandwidth, improved security and reliability, and faster deployment time.
The new network is seen as marking another important chapter in the future-oriented development of the testing centre. Since Porsche’s acquisition of the NTC in 2012, continuous investments in the modernisation and technological upgrade of the proving ground have been made. Besides investments in workshops, safety systems and other tracks, the famous 12.6km circular track, with a diameter of 4km, was completely renovated in 2019 – including the laying of fibre-optic cables for fast data transmission and appropriate road signage to validate automated driving.
NTC’s new 5G network is part of broader collaboration initiatives between the Porsche Group and Vodafone that, in August 2021, led to the deployment of a standalone 5G network at the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, Germany.
With the new Vodafone Business 5G solution, NTC aims to enable its customers to efficiently develop and validate a wide range of future business-critical applications, from new connectivity, vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-vehicle and highly automated driving functions to self-driving vehicles. The new mobile network infrastructure enables 4G and 5G coverage throughout the testing centre, which occupies an area of over 700 hectares in the Apulian region and has more than 20 tracks for high-performance testing.
As a next-generation mobile private network, the new system features a hybrid infrastructure, using a private network fully integrated into Vodafone’s public mobile network. Both private and public coverage is provided at the same location. Thus, the local population can benefit from the availability of the fast 5G public network, while NTC’s customers can make use of a private network that guarantees high standards in data security.
Besides the new mobile network, NTC also offers customers a high-performance 1Gbps connection. This allows a fast and direct connection to the cloud, enabling a globally networked cooperation and more efficient data-driven engineering.
“At our proving ground in Nardò, we are committed to constantly push technologies to the next level – so our customers can successfully meet the increasing demands of future mobility,” said Peter Schäfer, CEO of Porsche Engineering and chairman of the advisory board of the Nardò Technical Center. “With the new 5G network, NTC offers its customers an even better infrastructure to develop and test intelligent, autonomous and connected vehicles.”
Vodafone Business CEO Vinod Kumar added: “5G mobile private networks can act as a springboard for companies by enabling them to evolve the way they do business. In Nardò, MPN technology enables a facility that resembles a smart city, with coverage that is seamless on and off campus for the next generation of applications that will transform transportation and mobility. We’re excited to help the team in Nardò to plan for the future and unlock the business potential with some of our latest technologies.”