5G tapped by Audi for automotive manufacturing
5G will simulate remote production environments
Two giants of the automobile and technology world have teamed up to bring 5G technology to meet the high demands of future automotive production. Audi and Ericsson have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and in the coming months, experts from both companies will run field tests in a technical center of the “Audi Production Lab” in Gaimersheim, Germany.
At Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, the two companies agreed on a range of activities exploring the potential of 5G, as well as exploring how 5G can be used in other Audi Group factories. 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.
Frank Loydl, Chief Information Officer at AUDI AG, explains the significance of having a 5G-powered factory within the automotive industry: “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.”
According to the announcement from the two companies, both believe that 5G will deliver a better and faster broadband experience for consumers, while for businesses it will be an enabler to open up new applications for everything.
The planned infrastructure at the technical center 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.
Ericsson has been a major pioneer of 5G technology for a number of years, and undertakes a number of initiatives to study the technology. In one of the initiatives, Fraunhofer IPT and Ericsson have collaborated to research new methods for improving process control and discovering manufacturing failures more promptly.
Erik Ekudden, Group CTO, Ericsson, says: “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.”