Verhaert, Crescent/Option and DroneMatrix are forming a consortium to collaborate on a sub-6 GHz 5G Gateway platform coupled with an Edge AI module. This technology platform will enable new innovations with a large number of sensors, massive data, low network latency and high reliability with AI data handling for smart autonomous systems such as drones, AGVs and robots.
Completely autonomous self-learning systems
In addition to demonstrating the capabilities of true 5G autonomous systems, the consortium aims to innovate on a technological level as well. The technology will allow Artificial Intelligence to be deployed between AI and cloud to optimize data consumption and real-time local decisions. Verhaert is initially focusing on a fully autonomous self-learning Search & Collect Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), equipped with a robotic gripper and controlled by a Deep-VSLAM algorithm.
Lieven Claeys, Business Developer Digital Innovation at Verhaert underlines the importance of building 5G knowledge for Flanders: “5G is about much more than just the network and investments. Developing hard- and software solutions for adequate applications tailored to 5G leads to Flemish products and services. As a result, we will not only be introducing 5G equipment, but also inventing, developing and producing it on Flemish soil.”
5G Gateway for AGVs
The collaboration will allow Crescent/Option to commercialize a 5G Gateway more quickly. In addition, it will be able to test the first prototypes in a setup of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) at Atlas Copco, operating in a fairly small environment among employees. Because the AGVs are equipped with 5G, Crescent will demonstrate that 4 cameras streaming in real time enable a 360-degree visibility, which greatly improves safety applications.
“This fifth generation CloudGate from Crescent/Option will combine local Edge AI processing, interacting rapidly with AI cloud platforms over the 5G network. This will allow the customer’s AI application to be centrally trained and then the set of parameters to be applied. This has huge advantages: the technology will become cheaper and greener, and due to the autonomous operation there is less chance of communication failure,” states Alain Van den Broeck, CEO at Crescent/Option.
5G improves remote controlled drones
The consortium will enable DroneMatrix to make its drones deployable for 5G. Because of faster response times and real-time streaming of video images to the command center, remote control of drones will improve dramatically.
“The 5G technology will exponentially increase the applications of autonomous drones: the ‘drone-in-the-box’ will be the killer application for 5G. With this collaboration we want to demonstrate that one technology triggers the other,” said Lander Vanwelkenhuyzen, General Manager at DroneMatrix.
New applications of 5G
The consortium is looking forward to the complex integration of 5G and Edge AI enabling new applications and overcoming challenges – compared to 4G.
“We are very excited about this collaboration and want to use it to lead the R&D and application development of 5G in Belgium,” says Jochem Grietens who leads the consortium as Coordinator AILab at Verhaert.