5G Pilot To Demonstrate Advanced Logistics In The UK

An advanced logistics pilot has been announced in the UK which will see 5G technology used in an operational automotive environment for the first time.

The Fast Mode reports that Internet of Things (IoT) service and solutions provider, North, has been chosen to design, build, and support the £4.9 million operations which will take place close to Vantec at the Nissan test track in Sunderland, in the north east of England.

North states that the project will address the next innovation challenge of last-mile logistics, the automation of a 40-tonne heavy goods vehicle (HGV).

North will partner up with 5G solutions provider Nokia to gain access to the latest 5G technology, which will see the region established as a world leader in advanced logistics.

It is hoped that the project will have the potential to support the continued revolution in connected automated logistics (CAL), as well as providing a 5G core for the North East, placing it in a prime position for further investment and growth.

North, as the prime contractor, project manager, and systems integrator, will develop the infrastructure required to test and demonstrate the operational 5G-enabled autonomous delivery.

Matt Warman, the UK Government’s digital infrastructure minister, said: “Ensuring we put the power of 5G to good use in our economy is front and centre of our efforts to build back better”. We are leading the charge of this tech revolution by investing £200m in cutting-edge trials across the UK.”

The pilot will see drivers removed from the process, allowing remote teleoperation to control the HGVs, which can be carrying up to 40-tonnes of goods and materials. The project will showcase how network providers and industry can work together to design and develop automated logistic solutions that will address industry challenges with innovation.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics will be used to review, stress test, and fine-tune the application of the technology. Throughout the test period, which will be around 12-18-months, the consortium will ensure the system is fit for purpose, protected from threats such as security breaches and shall create a blueprint for similar projects.

“The combination of our renowned industrial ingenuity with new 5G technology positions Sunderland extremely competitively in the global marketplace. And the collective expertise across the 5G CAL consortium is primed to make great progress in this field,” added Patrick Melia, chief executive at Sunderland City Council.

Funding for the CAL pilot has been secured by a consortium, comprising of the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, StreetDrone and Perform Green.

The consortium secured £2.4 million from 5G Create, a £30 million open competition combining British creativity with innovative new uses for 5G, part of the UK government’s £200 million 5G testbeds and trials programme (5GTT).

Sunderland was named as UK Smart City of the Year for 2020, recognising digital innovation and transformation.

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