Reindustrialisation is a key objective for Europe. Introducing new technologies, such as collaborative robots, will make European industry more competitive, which will pave the way for industry becoming again the core of economic growth. The goal is not only to introduce robots (robots are already key elements in modern factories, especially large scale ones), but to go towards Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0, or smart factory, designates the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Its main components are cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing. In a smart factory, all tools and workstation integrated into production and supply lines are interconnected continuously and almost instantaneously, so that remote control, self-configuration, self-diagnosis and self-optimisation are made possible. Once made digital, the smart factory and its reconfigurable tools enable product customization, as well as production line reconfiguration between different products. Such flexibility enables production to become at the same time massive and customisable.
New technologies involved by Industry 4.0 (collaborative and reconfigurable robots, continuous quality monitoring, factory virtualization, etc.), even though based on specific technological advances (mechatronics, 2D or 3D image processing, big data, etc.) require information exchange between various entities. To date, these information exchanges are performed either in a wired fashion, e.g., via power-line communications (PLC) / Industrial Ethernet, or in some traditional wireless fashion such as WiFi/Zigbee. In the future, massive deployment and mobile robots will make wired connection impractical (considering e.g., maintenance and the mobility of robots) and wireless solutions will become a far better option. The drawback of the current wireless communication means in the factories is the fact that they are not coordinated, not flexible in meeting the various needs of different applications, their performance is suboptimal and typically subject to interference in the complex environment, due to either the coexistence of multiple wireless communications (e.g., smartphones, WiFi access points) using the same frequency bands, or interference, which occurs at the switching-on/off of heavy factory machines, etc.
Clear5G will focus on technical solutions to address these major challenges, since the state-of-the-art wireless solutions cannot comply with them.
This project brings together some of the advanced 5G research and demonstration facilities in Taiwan and Europe. The aim is to investigate and demonstrate some of the key enablers necessary to support MTC traffic in 5G networks, in particular in the FoF environment as illustrated in the following figure. The outcomes will be verified through proof of concept implementations and demonstrations using the facilities of partners that provide and support a range of MTC use cases.
More particularly, Clear5G aims at designing, developing and validating an integrated wireless access scheme for MTC services in the FoF by achieving the following objectives:
Objective 1: To define, investigate and develop physical layer (PHY) enhancements for reliable MTC supporting massive numbers of devices, achieving extreme low latency and reduced signalling and control overhead.
Objective 2: To design and implement Medium Access Control (MAC) layer enhancements for integrated convergent access supporting low latency, high reliability, massive connection density, and high energy and spectrum efficiency.
Objective 3: To design, configure and optimize radio network architectures and management mechanisms (with potential coexistence of public and private infrastructures) to fulfil the needs of FoF applications in terms of latency, wireless networking heterogeneity, reliability, scalability and manageability. Further, energy efficiency (especially at the device side) and spectrum efficiency will also be among the major performance targets in the design of network architecture and management strategies.
Objective 4: To provide security enhancements at the physical layer, contributing to the overall security solutions in a FoF environment.
Objective 5: To validate and demonstrate the performance of the project use cases in a realistic environment using testbed facilities both in Europe and Taiwan.
Objective 6: To support the ongoing 5G Standardization
Use cases: Machine-type communications (MTC)
Verticals: Factories of the Future (FoF)
WINGS will lead the integration and prototyping activities of the project (WP5), therefore high effort will be allocated on integrating the technological components provided by WP2, WP3 and WP4 into the testbeds, while it will contribute to the validation process of the FoF prototype against the defined KPIs. In addition, it will contribute to the definition of the FoF use cases, requirements and system architecture (T1.1) and to the design of the new frame structure suitable for the strict requirements of FoF environments (T1.3). WINGS will also contribute to the design of massive access MAC protocols (T3.1, T3.2). In addition, it will contribute to the design and implementation of machine-learning and data analytics capabilities distributed in the network (T4.2, T4.3).
WINGS prospects /exploitation
The participation in Clear5G provides a great opportunity to WINGS to gain knowledge and create competitive advantage in three strategic areas for the company: technologies supporting massive machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, essential for future large scale IoT services; technologies enabling the delivery of mission critical applications and services, which are very critical for the realisation of 5G FoF service delivery scenarios; prototyping in the area of IoT, very important as WINGS will strengthen its position to future research and experimentation/prototyping/PoC initiatives. In addition, participation and contribution to the Clear5G project will help stimulate spin off projects with industrial partners. In particular, WINGS will identify opportunities for technology transfer into the factory industry, e.g., by conveying technological know-how and/or integrating the technologies and control and management tools developed and showcased in Clear5G, in future collaborations with industrial partners including vertical industries particularly in the areas of FoF, automotive, energy and eHealth.
Awards & demonstration video
Framework: H2020 5GPPP Phase 2 / EU-Taiwan