Sprint Partners with Georgia City on AV Test Track

Peachtree Corners’ $2 million track has been in the works for months, but the addition of the telecommunications company will provide access to a high-speed 5G network for connected vehicles and infrastructure.

by Amanda C. Coyne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / January 16, 2019
Shutterstock/Jonathan Weiss

(TNS) — Peachtree Corners, Ga., will be partnering with wireless company Sprint on its new autonomous vehicle test track, the city announced Tuesday.

The $2 million track that runs along along Technology Parkway has been in the works for months, but the new Sprint partnership will add a 5G network, allowing companies that use the facility to test products that can connect and communicate with multiple devices at once.

The partnership will also produce a laboratory, the Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, intended to allow companies and startups to conduct research and tests on self-driving autos.

A Sprint representative would not disclose the value of its investment in the project.

The partnership was first announced last week by Sprint at the Consumer Electronics Show, a major technology expo held annually in Las Vegas.

In April the city announced plans for its self-driving vehicle test track. The city described a potential autonomous shuttle operating on the 1.4-mile track, which will run alongside traffic on Technology Parkway. Once complete, the track will be available to participating companies for testing autonomous vehicles, including those capable of communicating with drones and other electronic devices.

The project is centered around Technology Park Atlanta, which launched in the 1980s with initial tenants including General Electric and Scientific Atlanta. The test track project is partially intended to re-invigorate the technology park with new tenants working on state-of-the-art technology, said Mayor Mike Mason.

“When we became a city in 2012, we didn't inherit a technology hotspot, we inherited an out-of-date office park," Mason said.

Prototype Prime, a startup incubator already housed at Technology Park Atlanta is a new tenant at the park. The incubator has already received interest from companies across the country and is actively recruiting, said Betsy Plattenberg, Prototype Prime’s director of intelligent mobility.

The project is set to break ground in February, city manager Brian Johnson said. Construction is expected to last four months. Much of the necessary infrastructure already exists, but must undergo processes including having barriers installed to ensure the autonomous vehicles stay separated from traffic on the main road, Johnson said.

©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.