Volvo pilots 5G technology

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Volvo Construction Equipment will be among the first in the world to trial 5G mobile technology as part of a unique collaboration with mobile operator Telia Company

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The program represents a new era of digital innovation and aims to provide a select group of industry partners with an innovative platform to develop their own technologies.

For Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), this means pushing the boundaries for autonomous machines and developing site solutions that increase safety, productivity and uptime.

Volvo CE will test 5G enabled technologies at a site in Eskilstuna, Sweden – potentially years ahead of 5G becoming available to the wider public.

Only a handful of companies from across the Nordic countries, from a range of different industries, will be chosen to take part in the two-year program.

It is a joint collaboration between Telia with mobile telecoms firm Ericsson as its technology partner.

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Telia chief technology officer Mats Lundbäck announced the launch of the program at the 5G World Congress in London last month.

"The advantages of a faster, more reliable 5G network represent a huge step forward in connectivity," Volvo CE senior vice president of technology Patrik Lundblad says.

"Within the construction industry it opens up great potential for processing mobile data and will inevitably impact the ways in which our machines communicate and interact remotely.

"To be at the forefront of this digital revolution and collaborate on developing new technologies is a game changer for Volvo CE."

This new generation of mobile network is expected to deliver transfer speeds considerably faster than the current 4G network – and is therefore capable of transporting huge amounts of data in far less time. Volvo CE will test its potential by creating a local cellular network at its facility in Eskilstuna and use it to expand its competences and develop its ongoing research into autonomous technology.

In sectors such as mining, where it can take several hours of ventilation after blasting rocks before the environment is safe enough for operators to enter, moving closer to removing humans from the production site entirely will bring great advantages in productivity and safety.

"5G allows us to transport data in ways that we could only ever dream about and can increase the possibilities for autonomous and remote-controlled machines in our future," Volvo CE technical specialist for connected machines Calle Skillsäter says.

"By eliminating the potential safety hazards and downtime associated with operations like mining, we can move closer to fulfilling our ambitions to deliver zero emissions, zero accidents and zero unplanned stops."


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