Ericsson and Audi pioneer manufacturing 5G
The two companies agreed on a range of activities exploring the potential of 5G as a futureproof communication technology.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by both organisations, and in the coming months, experts will run field tests in a technical centre of the Audi Production Lab in Gaimersheim, Germany.
5G networks will deliver a better and faster broadband experience for consumers, while for businesses 5G will be an enabler to open up new applications for everything from connected vehicles to the smart factories of tomorrow.
The technology has many network characteristics that are essential for Industry 4.0 with increasingly flexible and complex production processes. It allows for faster data throughput rates and more network capacities, as well as promising highly secure availability. Moreover, ultralow latency ensures fast response times between equipment in the factory system.
“The fully networked factory will have a significant impact on the production of the future. A powerful network architecture that can respond in real time is of decisive importance for us. As part of the project with our partner Ericsson, we are testing the opportunities offered by 5G technology for industrial applications in the smart factory,” said Frank Loydl, Chief Information Officer at AUDI AG.
In addition to the Ingolstadt plant, Audi and Ericsson are exploring whether 5G can be used in other Audi Group factories.
“Ericsson is already running 5G industry programs all over the world to help manufacturers boost productivity and create new business opportunities. This project is a great opportunity to see what is possible when we bring 5G into an automobile production environment to truly enable smart wireless manufacturing,” said Erik Ekudden, Group CTO at Ericsson.
In the first phase of the project, Audi and Ericsson will test a latency-critical application using wirelessly connected production robots that are equipped with a gluing application — a commonly used technique in auto body construction.
The planned infrastructure at the technical centre in Gaimersheim will include the implementation of 5G technologies in a simulated production environment that mirrors those of Audi’s plant in Ingolstadt and other locations. The laboratory will be equipped with Ericsson’s Proof-of-Concept (PoC) network, which is an open trial facility to enable early deployments of 5G technology. The network is designed to integrate alternative or complementary technologies to the ones currently in use, including Wi-Fi or wireless LAN, or wired (Ethernet) connectivity of production components.
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