Lakeside Labs won the futurezone award in the category 5G innovation of the year for its work on communication in swarms. The award was presented by Huawei at an award ceremony in Vienna. The runner ups for the award were the University of Klagenfurt with a virtual realities use case and the TU Vienna with a smart 5G machine vice.
The use case “Communications in Swarms” is being developed at the 5G Playground Carinthia, which provides a test infrastructure consisting of an indoor and outdoor 5G campus network with edge computing resources. The work by Lakeside Labs shows how a swarms of robots, consisting of drones and ground rovers, can utilize 5G for coordination to perform join tasks. Such robot swarms are expected to be used in a various application areas such as monitoring of critical infrastructures and supporting fire fighters by detecting and localizing hot spots in forest fires.
Robust communication between the robots themselves and to a control stations is essential but existing technologies do not yet fulfill all communication requirements. Compared to commonly used technologies (such as Wi-Fi), 5G provides advantages in terms of coverage, scalability, and the use of licensed spectrum. However, several challenges exist, especially for networked drones. This is because 5G networks are designed and deployed for users on the ground, not in the air. Thus, improving the support for cellular-connected drones and other aerial users is an active research topic at Lakeside Labs and also one of the goals of current beyond-5G standardization efforts.