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CES 2019: Sprint pairs Curiosity IoT with 5G to power smart cities, autonomous vehicles


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(Image: Sprint)

Sprint has announced at CES 2019 that Greenville, South Carolina, will see its first smart city build-out based on both its Curiosity Internet of Things (IoT) platform and mobile 5G network connectivity.

As part of the project, Sprint will deploy Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology as well as a dedicated IoT network and “micro-positioning” technology aimed at enabling connected vehicles, smart machines, and autonomous drones to operate and react in real time.

“Greenville government officials and staff are placing their trust in … leveraging the power of Sprint mobile 5G and Curiosity IoT networks to bring smart city use cases to life,” Sprint SVP of IoT and Product Development Ivo Rook said during CES on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Greenville is hoping to attract startups to the city, as well as companies wanting to conduct R&D across artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and autonomous vehicles use cases.

Sprint further announced on Tuesday at CES that it will be constructing a smart vehicle test track in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, which will also utilise Curiosity IoT, 5G, and micro-positioning tech.

The Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners will feature a 1.5-mile test track equipped with nodes to trial AI, robotics, and autonomous vehicle applications including vehicle-to-vehicle communications, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, and over-the-horizon warning systems.

“Sprint is bringing together Curiosity IoT, micro-positioning, and HD mapping, all enabled by our upcoming mobile 5G network, to develop and test the most advanced technologies in the industry,” Rook said.

“It will be possible, for example, to test how connected cars can communicate to make lane changing and highway exiting safer and more efficient, how above-road warning messages might instead be sent to and displayed on car dashboards, and how drivers might receive in-car alerts about approaching connected emergency vehicles,” Sprint added.

Non-profit incubator Prototype Prime is recruiting startups across software and hardware to deploy 5G in Peachtree Corners, Sprint said.

Lastly, Sprint announced on Tuesday that it is launching “precision mapping technology” with Mapbox, again using its Curiosity IoT and later its 5G network.

“Smart machine-based services need to be able to make immediate mobility decisions similar to the way a driver might react to construction, traffic or other obstacles on a street,” Rook said.

“Sprint’s Curiosity IoT network with mobile 5G provides platform services that make that real with high bandwidth, edge computing for object detection and data processing, and super low latency,” Mapbox CEO Eric Gundersen added.

Mapbox had developed its Live Map technology previously, using data from hundreds of millions of sensors as well as AI to build real-time accurate maps. Using Curiosity IoT and 5G will provide lower latency and higher bandwidth to improve this system, Sprint said.

Sprint had announced the launch of its Curiosity IoT platform, developed in partnership with fellow SoftBank-owned company Packet, back in September.

The operating system makes use of Arm’s Platform Security Architecture, which includes open-source firmware and security analysis; Arm Pelion Data Management for IoT data and analytics; Arm Pelion Connectivity Management and Arm Kigen SIM solutions for managing and provisioning SIM connectivity across any device deployed on any network, including cell, satellite, and LoRa; and Arm Pelion Device Management for baked-in security, over-the-air firmware updates, and management for IoT devices on-premises and in the cloud.

Thanks to Packet’s bare metal servers, the virtualised and distributed IoT core then reduces the distance from 1,000 miles down to less than 50 miles between the device generating data and the IoT application processing the data.

Sprint on Monday also confirmed that it will be launching a Samsung 5G smartphone in summer 2019, as well as unveiling the smart home small cell solution with LTE called Trebl with Magic Box.

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