SEW-Eurodrive, in collaboration with Emqopter, siticom, and Hochschule Koblenz, introduce an innovative project focused on 6G multinetworking for autonomous logistics processes. siticom won funding through a research grant competition as part of the INNONT (Innovative Network Technologies) funding program by the Federal Ministry for Digitalization and Transport. In this blog, you can explore the project's vision and goals, the roles of the collaborators, and their strategies for achieving them.
The MultiNet6G project is driven by the vision of seamlessly integrating various wireless communication technologies, including 5G, WiFi, Visible Light Communication (VLC), and radar communication. The need for this integration arises from several scenarios:
Coexistence of Wireless Technologies: In industrial settings, WiFi systems are commonly used for mobile connectivity. Newer technologies like 5G are introduced alongside existing systems due to the cost of migrating processes to new technology. This leads to the coexistence of multiple technologies, necessitating coordination and cooperation.
Advanced Industrial Automation: Modern industrial setups feature autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) connected via various wireless interfaces like WiFi, 5G, VLC, and radar communication. Each technology offers unique capabilities, requiring their simultaneous usage.
Safety-Critical Communication: Autonomous vehicles and machinery require secure communication when performing synchronized tasks near humans. Current solutions involve complex installations of proprietary wireless technology, which the MultiNet6G project aims to simplify.
Urban Logistics: AGVs are increasingly used in urban logistics, where LTE/5G dominates long-range communication. Additionally, VLC and radar communication are explored for urban logistics applications.
These scenarios highlight the need for a holistic approach, orchestration, and optimization of diverse wireless networks, especially for highly autonomous logistics applications.
What the Participants Do and siticom's Role
The MultiNet6G project aims to develop, implement, and test an open, 3GPP-derived system that enables the unified use of diverse wireless communication technologies as a single network. The core concept of the project involves integrating four technologies into a 3GPP-compliant open-source mobile core network: 5G, WiFi, VLC, and radar communication.
Participants and Their Expertise
SEW-EURODRIVE GmbH & Co KG
As the largest industrial partner, SEW leads the consortium and contributes to various aspects of the project, including requirements analysis, VLC, and radar communication modules, and seamless technology switching.
Emqopter focuses on developing multicopters for technology demonstrations and is responsible for integrating 5G and WiFi into existing drone platforms. They also collaborate on VLC and radar integration.
HS Ko specializes in integrating VLC and radar technologies into the mobile core and ensuring uninterrupted technology switches on the air interface. They also lead the network and application demonstrator setup.
We are the integrator for 5G solutions, handling the initial deployment of the 5G lab network and WiFi integration. In this scenario we focus on developing mechanisms for time synchronization across different technologies. Find more about siticom's mobile connectivity porfolio.
DOCOMO Euro-Labs provides advisory support and contributes the network operator and standardization perspective.
How We Plan to Achieve It
The project addresses several key research questions, including:
How to design the architecture of a 6G multinet, considering spatial redundancies and technology-specific attributes.
How to assign unique identities to devices with multiple communication connections.
How to make optimal routing decisions in scenarios with multiple wireless networks.
How to harness the unique capabilities of different wireless technologies through a 5G/6G core network.
The 5G core network architecture will be enhanced to accommodate spatial redundancies, different technology characteristics, and interfaces between wireless technology and the network core.
Innovative identity management solutions will be explored, allowing multi-radio capable devices to be treated as a single entity.
Advanced routing decisions will be made considering parameters like latency, reliability, and jitter, adapting to real-time application requirements.
An application demonstrator will be developed using AGVs and drones to assess the advantages of the multinet for logistics applications, including safety-critical communication.
In conclusion, the MultiNet6G project is poised to revolutionize the way we approach wireless communication technologies. By seamlessly integrating diverse wireless networks and addressing the challenges of various applications, we aim to create a more connected and efficient future. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project, as we continue to push the boundaries of technological innovation.