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O2 launches first commercial laboratory at Harwell Campus

11:35 20 October in Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing, Digital Technology, Europe, Oxfordshire, Talent and Innovation

To research 5G and satellite communications in the UK, O2, based in Slough, has launched the first commercial laboratory at Harwell Campus in Oxford.

The new laboratory, named Darwin SatCom lab, aims to research future generation connectivity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). In collaboration with O2, two Renault TWIZY electric cars have been converted into CAVs and fitted with LIDAR senses that are controlled inside the lab itself.

Darwin SatCom lab is conducting research running test concepts that track CO2 emissions of vehicles. This research uses LIDAR sensors that connect the lab to satellite imagery to track the vehicle’s route and calculate emission savings by using alternate routes based on nearby trees carbon capture. The impact of this research at Harwell Campus in Oxford shows the strides being made through utilising technology to examine revolutionary research concepts in science and technology.

“We’re delighted to announce that the Darwin SatCom Lab is now open for business at Harwell Campus, allowing companies to put theory into practice and test innovative ideas using our connected and autonomous vehicles.

“The Lab is further proof that O2 is at the forefront of connectivity and accelerating Britain’s recovery by helping British businesses to harness the power of 5G and satellite communications in order to benefit their customers. It’s the next step in getting autonomous vehicles on the road and making the UK’s transport network greener.”

Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer at O2


We are thrilled to be the home of the Darwin SatCom Lab, which puts us at the heart of emerging fields of 5G satellites, autonomous cars, and green energy. These multidisciplinary projects are where Harwell’s cluster model thrives – enabling an innovative ecosystem, a ’Harwell Living Lab’, where sectors, such as space and energy, can collaborate and trial green transport technologies that may be used on our roads in years to come.”

Dr Barbara Ghinelli, Director at Harwell Campus Clusters


“Having the Darwin SatCom Lab within the Harwell Space Cluster, which brings together expertise and capabilities from academia, industry and the public sector, offers forward-looking companies the opportunity to harness the power of 5G and satellite communications and make their ideas a commercial reality. We look forward to opening up the Lab to a national and international audience who want to put theory into practice using CAVs.”

Dr. Joanna Hart, Harwell Space Cluster Development Manager at Harwell Campus


Harwell Campus, based in Oxford, holds over £2bn in world-leading research infrastructure with over 200 organisations. Harwell is a leading science and innovation campus in Europe – achieving many world firsts such as building Europe’s first energy producing fission reactor. The campus generates cross-sector collaboration and research opportunities to solve global challenges through its links with wider communities and businesses.

Full releases from Harwell Campus and O2 can be accessed HERE and HERE.