ACCIONA and Mobile World Capital Barcelona, within the framework of GSMA Mobile World Congress and the 5GBarcelona initiative, have signed a groundbreaking innovation agreement for the use of 5G networks to develop pilot industrial projects applied to ACCIONA's sectors of activity (construction, renewable energy, water and services). This collaboration agreement, with an initial duration of three years, will give ACCIONA access to 5G networks that will not be commercially available until early in the next decade.
5GBarcelona: the first pilot projects
The first projects under the innovation agreement will be carried out with telecommunications operator ORANGE and will consist of 5G network applications in driverless machinery on civil engineering projects and for logistics tasks at industrial plants.
To make it possible to conduct these pilot projects, ORANGE will offer an initial roll-out using LTE-M (pre-5G) technology to enable ACCIONA to test the use cases and implement improvements between 2018 and the full roll-out of 5G.
In the application for civil engineering projects, ACCIONA will test the use of 5G networks in both self-driving and remotely operated machinery. For self-driving machinery, 5G networks enable all the computer power to be located in the cloud (requiring the transfer of a huge volume of data, not feasible over 4G), making it unnecessary for the processors to be physically installed in each machine, which will cut costs. In the case of remotely operated machinery, the new bandwidth will make it possible to operate equipment remotely in real time, eliminating latency issues.
Among the advantages of these applications of 5G networks in construction are the reduction of workplace risks, faster execution times and the possibility of creating a centralised team of specialists in operating machinery of this type that will not have to travel to each ACCIONA work site but may work remotely.
With regard to logistics, ACCIONA proposes to automate loading and transport processes in automobile assembly plants (where it has considerable experience through its services subsidiary, ACCIONA Service). To this end, it will use collaborative and autonomous robots with the capacity to detect and avoid obstacles.
These use cases implemented by ACCIONA, MWCapital and ORANGE evidence the potential of the pilot projects to be launched within the framework of 5GBarcelona. This initiative, supported by the Catalonia regional government, Barcelona municipal government, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, i2CAT Foundation, Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), Atos and Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), will make the city a flagship European digital hub for 5G.
As part of the agreement, ACCIONA, through its I’MNOVATION initiative, will work with 4YFN (4 Years From Now), the business platform promoted by MWCapital that connects startups, investors, large corporations and public institutions. The goal will be to nurture the industrial startup ecosystem at an international level and conduct pilot projects with startups in such areas as smart cities, IoT/industry 4.0 and Big Data solutions.
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