QinetiQ to make lampposts talk

QinetiQ has secured a £6.2 million contract from LastMile Communications to develop a wireless transceiver system that allows street furniture to broadcast local information.


The system will consist of a high-speed communication network hosted in existing road signs, gantries and lampposts.


The contract represents part of an extended strategic development agreement between the two companies and follows the successful completion of an earlier £1.6 million deal where QinetiQ carried out risk reduction on the technology that will underpin the new system.


The new contract will result in the full development of a 65Ghz communications sub-system by QinetiQ that will initially enable point-to-point high speed communications from wireless node to wireless node, removing the requirement for expensive underground fibre optic cabling. The intention is then to develop further wireless node systems that enable roadside-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-roadside and vehicle-to-vehicle networking.


Last Mile’s system allows information to be stored on individual wireless nodes, rather than at the centre of a network, simplifying the process of information access.


Once commissioned, LastMile expects these systems to allow retailers and other commercial services like hotels, restaurants and shops to communicate special offers and useful information instantly and cheaply to all motorists within a given radius of a specific site, extending the current pedestrian model enabled by LastMile today. Users will be able to access this localised information via a range of mobile devices.


QinetiQ will initially deliver around one hundred pre-production prototypes that will allow LastMile to conduct a pilot trial of the system. Under the terms of the agreement, QinetiQ will then be responsible for supplying an initial production run of tens of thousands of units, during which time the technology will be matured and costs reduced.