Volvo uses 5G mobile network to test remote-controlled loaders

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) says that it will become one of the first in the world to use 5G technology to test remote-controlled and autonomous machines.

The company has teamed up with Telia and Ericsson to launch “Sweden’s first 5G network for industrial use at its facility in Eskilstuna”.

The 5G network will be used at Volvo CE’s research and development facility to “further develop solutions for remote control of machinery and fully automated solutions”. It will also be used to increase understanding of how connected machines can “create added value for the customer”.

“Automation has several levels and having 5G is an important technical support to enable us to drive development in this area. These trials will include the remote control of a conventional wheel loader but also further tests of our HX2 concept load carrier,” explained Melker Jernberg, president of Volvo CE.

“To connect business-critical machines and vehicles requires a solution that is able to handle the massive amounts of data with guaranteed connection. That is what 5G can give us,” added Anders Olsson, CEO of Telia Sweden.

Even with fully-automated systems, human intervention is still needed now and again. Today’s remote-control technology has a time lag that makes it difficult to control at high speed or with high precision. 5G promises to make remote control simpler and safer.

“With extremely short response times, high capacity and a high level of accessibility to the mobile network, commercial and standardised 5G technology can be used for applications such as remote control of heavy machinery in real time,” said Magnus Frodigh, head of research at Ericsson.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth-generation mobile network. Compared with 4G, 5G is faster, has shorter lag time, higher accessibility and is able to handle more connected devices at the same time.

In other Volvo CE news, the company says that it ended 2018 “strongly”. It posted its best set of annual financial results ever, helping parent company – Volvo Group – to achieve “record results”.

Net sales increased by 27% last year (compared with 2017).

Image source: Shane Casey