Volvo Construction Equipment will be among the first in the world to trial 5G mobile technology as part of a unique collaboration with mobile operator Telia Company.
The Telia journey to 5G Partnership Program represents a new era of digital innovation and aims to provide a select group of industry partners with an innovative platform to develop their own technologies. For Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), this means pushing the boundaries for autonomous machines and developing site solutions that increase safety, productivity and uptime.
Volvo CE will be in the enviable position in the global construction equipment industry of being able to test 5G enabled technologies at a test site in Eskilstuna, Sweden – potentially years ahead of 5G becoming available to the wider public.
Only a handful of companies from across the Nordic countries – and from a range of different industries – will be chosen to take part in the two-year program. It is a joint collaboration between Telia with mobile telecoms firm Ericsson as its technology partner. Telia Chief Technology Officer Mats Lundbäck announced the launch of the program at the 5G World Congress in London.
Patrik Lundblad, Volvo CE’s Senior Vice President of Technology, said: “The advantages of a faster, more reliable 5G network represent a huge step forward in connectivity. It opens up great potential for processing mobile data and will inevitably impact the ways in which our machines communicate and interact remotely. To be at the forefront of this digital revolution and collaborate on developing new technologies is a gamechanger for Volvo CE.”
This new generation of mobile network is expected to deliver transfer speeds considerably faster than the current 4G network – and is therefore capable of transporting huge amounts of data in far less time. Volvo CE will test its potential by creating a local cellular network at its facility in Eskilstuna and use it to expand its competences and develop its ongoing research into autonomous technology.
In sectors such as mining, where it can take several hours of ventilation after blasting rocks before the environment is safe enough for operators to enter, moving closer to removing humans from the production site entirely will bring great advantages in productivity and safety.
Calle Skillsäter, Volvo CE’s Technical Specialist for Connected Machines, said: “5G allows us to transport data in ways that we could only ever dream about and can increase the possibilities for autonomous and remote-controlled machines in our future. By eliminating the potential safety hazards and downtime associated with operations like mining, we can move closer to fulfilling our ambitions to deliver zero emissions, zero accidents and zero unplanned stops.”
This is not the first time Volvo CE has partnered with Telia and Ericsson. The Swedish companies also collaborated on an award-winning digital mining project last year. The Pilot for Industrial Mobile Communication in Mining (PIMM), which was named Digitalisation Project of the Year at the Telecom Gala last February, saw the testing of a concept remote-control wheel loader capable of operating more than 1,312 feet underground. It is hoped this latest program will allow Volvo CE to develop its advanced mobile communication expertise even further.