Ericsson, Telia carry out 5G autonomous ferry demo in Norway
Ericsson, Telia and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have partnered to carry out a demonstration of a 5G autonomous ferry, Ericsson said in a release.
The partners have successfully demonstrated a small connected passenger ferry, using artificial intelligence (AI), in the Norwegian city of Trondheim.
The autonomous ferry, dubbed milliAmpère, transported passengers across Trondheim’s harbor canal. Ericsson said that its 5G technology enabled Telia to securely support the large amount of data transfers needed to support the autonomous ferry.
MilliAmpère is equipped with sensors that record its surroundings and the steering system on board. This generates large amounts of data that needs to be communicated with the control center, Ericsson explained.
“Ericsson’s 5G technology and its ability to upload large amounts of data in a short time was key to the success of the pilot. Ericsson’s 5G Radio and superior software enables upload speeds of more than 200 Mbps and download speeds above 1 Gbps,” said Jenny Lindqvist, head of Ericsson’s customer unit for Northern and Central Europe, Ericsson.
“The data is analyzed so that the vessel finds its way itself and avoids any obstacles, and at the same time the distance to the quay is measured so that the boat can safely moor itself,” said Egil Eide, associate professor at the Department of Electronic Systems, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). “In the event of a sea emergency, the vessel can also be remotely controlled from the control center at Gløshaugen via the same mobile network.”
Ericsson has been working around the world on autonomous vehicles powered by 5G and has also partnered with Telia to highlight the environmental benefits of self-driving vehicles. The vendor said that it currently has more than 75 commercial 5G agreements or contracts with unique communication service providers, of which 24 are live networks.
In related news, earlier this month Korean carrier SK Telecom announced a partnership with Samsung Heavy Industries to develop a 5G-based autonomous navigation platform which enables ships to move to set destinations on their own.
Samsung provided 3.3-meter craft for the trial, which SK Telecom equipped with LIDAR — a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth — at a shipyard covered by its 5G network. The companies then set the ship’s destination from a control center located 250 kilometers away in Daejeon City.
The ship’s safe arrival at the set destination was confirmed using an SKT real-time video monitoring platform. The Korean carrier said it successfully recognized and avoided obstacles. The partners were also able to remotely control and monitor the ship from the control center through using the telco’s 5G network.
Choi Il-gyu, VP and head of SKT’s B2B business office said that the trial “marks a meaningful step towards commercialization of technologies for autonomous navigation of ships powered by 5G.”