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Deployment of 5G technology in drones and robots

Horizon 2020 research project coordinated by the UC3M


Scientists from Spain, Germany, France, Sweden and Taiwan collaborate on a technological cooperation project, coordinated by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), to study the economic viability of 5G telecommunications in two pilot tests with Artificial Intelligence (AI): one on the remote control of industrial robots and the other on the management of fleets of drones.  

Proyecto 5G Dive

The project, named 5G-DIVE, was recently presented in Taiwan, where the final test will be carried out in 2021. Beforehand, validation tests will be carried out in Spain at 5TONIC, an open research and innovation laboratory for 5G technology founded by IMDEA Networks and Telefónica.

These two tests will implement a 5G design adapted to the needs of their respective applications to check the correct functioning of the systems over a long period of time. The first test focuses on the remote control of industrial robots used in factories, through the connection of one of these devices to a digital twin (a software copy of the robot). In addition, the intention is to utilise AI in the network to process images taken by cameras to detect possible imperfections in the parts manufactured. The second pilot test focuses on the other scenario: autonomous coordinated drone flight. In this case, the aim is to control them from a central base using 5G technology and AI to detect, for example, if there is a person in danger during a fire. “Both situations of usage require a high bandwidth and low latency (minimal delay in communication), reasons why 5G technology is so appropriate”, those in charge of the project comment. 

“This project is highly applicable at the point of transforming the current networks into a much wider distributed network, in which the user terminals form an integral part of the network’s resources. Apart from validating 5G technology, it presents a research component in the line of distributed computation and new network models”, explains the coordinator of this H2020 project, Antonio de la Oliva, Associate Professor from the UC3M’s Telematic Engineering Department.

The design according to 5G-DIVE is based on two principal pillars: 5G connectivity including the improvement to the base stations and terminals (as well as the improvements to the network’s core) and more accessible computation for the user through the use of “Fog Computing” (computation in the cloud closely connected to the network). The intelligent and individualised design has been conceived to achieve optimised performance and, thereby, significantly motivating the corporate value proposal of 5G in every specific vertical application. 

5G-DIVE is financed by funds from Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme of Research and Innovation (GA 859881), and from the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan. This project, which is a continuation of two H2020 projects (5G-CORAL and 5G-TRANSFORMER), represents a second phase in technological cooperation between Europe and Taiwan in this field. The R+D+I consortium is made up of 12 members from the industrial and academic sectors. On the European side are; the UC3M, as the coordinating entity of the project within H2020, ADLINK Technology, Ericsson, Interdigital Germany, Rise, Telcaria Ideas and Telefónica. On the Taiwanese side are; the Industrial Technology Research Institute, as the project coordinator in Taiwan, Askey, the Institute for Information Industry and National Chiao Tung University (NCTU).

5G DIVE (Chinese version)