The project has the potential to support the continued revolution in connected automated logistics and provides a 5G core for the North East, positioning it for further investment and growth.
An advanced logistics pilot which will see 5G technology used in an operational automotive environment, reportedly, for the first time in the UK, has been announced.
North, an IoT service and solutions provider, has been selected to design, build, and support the £4.9m operation, which will take place close to Vantec at the Nissan test track in Sunderland, in the north east of England.
According to North, the project will address the next innovation challenge of last-mile logistics – the automation of a 40-tonne heavy goods vehicle (HGV).
The project will see North partner with 5G solutions provider Nokia to access the latest 5G technology which will establish the region as a global leader in advanced logistics, the company claims.
Importantly, the project has the potential to support the continued revolution in connected automated logistics (CAL) and provides a 5G core for the North East, positioning it for further investment and growth.
“Ensuring we put the power of 5G to good use in our economy is front and centre of our efforts to build back better”
As the prime contractor, project manager and systems integrator, North will put the infrastructure in place required to test and demonstrate the operational 5G-enabled autonomous delivery.
“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,” said Matt Warman, digital infrastructure minister, UK government.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the project in Sunderland can use 5G to boost industrial productivity through the use of driverless vehicles.”
The pilot will enable the removal of the driver from the process and allow remote teleoperations to control the vehicles which can carry up to 40 tonnes of materials. The project aims to showcase how network providers and industry can come together to design and develop automated logistic solutions which address industry challenges with innovation.
“The combination of our renowned industrial ingenuity with new 5G technology positions Sunderland extremely competitively in the global marketplace”
Artificial intelligence and advanced analytics will be used to review, stress test, and hone 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.
“Improving competitiveness to attract inward investment and boost exports are key drivers in our regionally-focused investment to automate logistics for manufacturing. Accelerating and supporting economic growth through the creation of this exemplar will encourage further private and public sector investment, representing a major opportunity for us here in Sunderland and the wider North East region.”
Funding for the CAL pilot was secured by a consortium which comprises the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, StreetDrone and Perform Green.
The partners secured £2.4m from 5G Create, a £30m open competition combining British creativity with innovative new uses for 5G, part of the UK government’s £200m 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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