Pioneering 5G pilot to focus on advanced logistics

2 mins read

A ground-breaking pilot project, which will see pioneering 5G technology used in an operational automotive environment for the very first time in the UK, has been announced.

North, a leading UK IoT service and solutions provider, has been appointed to design, build and support the £4.9 million operation, which will take place close to Vantec at the Nissan test track in Sunderland, addressing the next innovation challenge of last mile logistics – with the automation of a 40 tonne HGV.

The project will see North partner with Nokia, to access the latest 5G technology in a project that it is hoped will establish the North East as a global leader in advanced logistics. Importantly, the project has the potential to support the continued revolution in Connected Automated Logistics (CAL) and provides a 5G core for the North East, positioning it for further investment and growth.

Funding for the CAL pilot was secured by a consortium which comprises The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, StreetDrone and Perform Green. The partners secured £2.4 million from 5G Create, a £30 million open competition combining UK-based creativity with innovative new uses for 5G, part of the UK government’s £200 million 5G testbeds and trials programme (5GTT).

As the prime contractor, project manager and systems integrator, North will put the infrastructure in place required to test and demonstrate the operational 5G-enabled autonomous delivery.

The pilot will enable the removal of the driver from the process and allow remote teleoperations to control the vehicles which can carry up to 40 tonnes of materials. This project will showcase how network providers and industry can come together to design and develop automated logistic solutions which address industry challenges with innovation.

Artificial intelligence and advanced analytics will be used to review, stress test, and hone the application of the technology. Throughout the test period, which will be around 12-to-18-months, the consortium will ensure the system is fit for purpose, protected from threats such as security breaches and shall create a blueprint for similar projects.

Glen Williams, Chief Executive for North said: “This is a significant milestone for 5G standalone technology in the UK. We know that the potential of 5G is tremendous, however, to realise it, we need to see more innovative projects such as this being driven forward across different sectors and UK regions.

“We were selected to fully design and deliver the next generation connectivity for this pilot because of our exceptional track record for delivering high performance innovative solutions, including our unique end-to-end approach which provides clients with a full service. This is coupled with our specific experience of delivering 5G technology and our partnership with Nokia, a global leader in 5G.

“We are looking forward to working with all of the stakeholders to take the technology out of the testbed and into a safe and controlled operational manufacturing environment for the first time.”