Test and Measurement: PAWR gets a $2.8 million R&D boost

Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research receives additional National Science Foundation funds

The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research program, which operates a number of 5G testbeds across the U.S., has received an additional $2.8 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.

US Ignite, the entity which jointly runs the PAWR program with Northeastern University, said this week that the new funding comes amid “rising global interest in wireless research facilities and underscores the value of programs that expand researcher access to sophisticated and adaptive network testing environments.”

The funding extends the original five-year term of the PAWR Program Office (PPO) and support for PAWR’s four testbeds, which are focused on areas including Open RAN, spectrum sharing, drone-based wireless systems and rural-specific broadband applications.

In other test news:

Lockheed Martin and Intel say that they have successfully integrated a 5G core and Open RAN network into Lockheed’s 5G.MIL hybrid base station, which is “flyable” hardware. In a release, Lockheed Martin said that it “demonstrated over-the-air 5G and tactical network connectivity in a laboratory environment that is capable of transitioning to military air vehicles.”

“This demonstration hosted 5G O-RAN technology on ruggedized computers suitable for fighter and other aircraft, paving the way for the team to fly on any number of military platforms during upcoming crewed-uncrewed distributed teaming flight tests,” the aerospace company added.

-On a related note in the use of 5G in defense applications, JMA Wireless was a partner in a recent demonstration that showcased the use of a private 5G mobile network for tactical applications for frontline soldiers, including a mobile device security application, real-time tracking and sensor-to-shooter applications, among others. JMA’s 5G Standalone wireless system was connected to the U.S. Army’s Integrated Tactical Network (ITN) for communications, as part of a daylong event at defense contractor Sherpa 6’s facility near Fort Bragg, N.C. The two companies said that they “successfully showed that the low-latency and increased bandwidth provided by 5G wireless enhances the strategic applications of the ITN for the troops.”

-An update on the AI-assisted autonomous vehicle test project that was announced a few weeks ago: The CIRCLES Consortium, which includes four universities, Nissan North America and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, concluded its five-day real-road testing, in which 100 specially equipped Nissan Rogue vehicles joined regular commute traffic to test their impact on traffic flow, on November 18. “On November 16 alone, the system recorded a total of 143,010 miles driven and 3,780 hours of driving. … The concept we are hoping to demonstrate is that by leveraging this new traffic system to collect data and estimate traffic and applying artificial intelligence technology to existing cruise control systems, we can ease traffic jams and improve fuel economy,” said the CIRCLES team in a joint statement.

The research teams will now spend the next few months analyzing data from the experiment to see whether those AI-directed cars could help to ease stop-and-go traffic jams and improve fuel economy, by altering the behavior of human drivers. A previous experiment on a closed-track indicated that just one AI-equipped vehicle influenced the speed and driving behavior of up to 20 surrounding cars, “causing a positive ripple effect to help smooth human-caused traffic congestion,” the consortium noted.

-A new test demonstration has used lasers to deliver a 5G backhaul link with 10 Gbps capacity, using equipment from startup Transcelestial and Mavenir at a lab site in Australia. Read the full story here.

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