Volvo Construction Equipment has announced it will begin testing remote-controlled wheel loaders now that Sweden has its first industrial use-5G network.
In collaboration with Telia and Ericsson, the OEM launched the 5G service from its research and development facility at Eskilstuna, where it will be used to further develop solutions for the remote control of construction machinery and fully automated solutions. It will also be used to increase understanding of how connected machines can create added value for the customer.
“We are testing locally in Eskilstuna, but we operate globally,” said Melker Jernberg, president of Volvo CE. “Connected machines and autonomous solutions are the future. They can give our customers more efficient production, logistics, greater flexibility and safer work.
“By minimizing the potential safety risks and downtime associated with sectors such as mining, we can get closer to our goal of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero unplanned stops. It will be exciting to see how far 5G can take us on that journey.
“These trials will include the remote control of a conventional wheel loader but also further tests of the HX2 concept load carrier.”
Anders Olsson, CEO of Telia Sweden, said, “We can see that the industry’s interest in 5G is considerable. Automation of the entire flow will mean new ways of working and greater gains from efficiency. But to connect business-critical machines and vehicles requires a solution that is able to handle the massive amounts of data with guaranteed connection. That is what 5G can give us.”
Even with fully automated systems, human intervention is still needed now and again for control. Todays’ remote-control technology has a time lag that makes it difficult to control at high speed or with high precision. 5G will make remote control simpler and safer.
Magnus Frodigh, head of research at Ericsson, said, “With extremely short response times, high capacity, and a high level of accessibility to the mobile network, commercial and standardized 5G technology can be used for applications such as remote control of heavy machinery in real time.
“This opens up new opportunities for greater efficiency, cutting costs and reducing risk in hazardous environments. 5G enables us to create a safer, more efficient and sustainable society. In cooperation with Telia and Volvo CE, we are now putting theory into practice in Eskilstuna. The 5G technology is ready for the world to switch on.”
Volvo CE, Telia and Ericsson have worked together before to deploy the latest technology to contribute to safer and more efficient mining, and in the summer of 2018, Volvo CE joined Telia’s 5G partner program. Volvo CE expects to be able to apply the lessons learned from tests at Eskilstuna to its global activities.