LastMile Communications Ltd. has awarded QinetiQ a £6.2 M contract to develop a wireless transceiver system that will enable the high speed delivery of local information through a network of wireless nodes placed in existing roadside furniture, including road signs, gantries and lamp posts. The contract represents part of an extended strategic development agreement between the two companies and follows the successful completion of an earlier £1.6 M deal where QinetiQ de-risked the technology that will underpin the new system.

The new contract will result in the full development of a 65 GHz communications subsystem that will initially enable point-to-point high speed communications from wireless node to wireless node, removing the requirement for costly 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. LastMile’s system allows information to be stored on individual wireless nodes, rather than at the centre of a network, thereby simplifying the process of information access.

Once commissioned, these systems are expected to enable retailers and other commercial services to communicate special offers and useful information instantly and very cheaply to all motorists within a given radius of a specific site. Users will be able to access this localised information via a range of mobile devices.

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