Worker safety is a priority for the Port of Seattle, who have worked with Nokia to deploy a 5G private network to support cable-free port and terminal operations. The connectivity should make people more aware of their surroundings, reducing accidents.
The 5G-LOGGINOV project is using 5G connectivity at the Piraeus port in Greece to detect human presence in restricted areas, such as at railways or areas with increased crane manoeuvres. The network is able to trigger respective alerts of potential safety risks.
The full capabilities of Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communications can be unlocked with 5G networks, connecting freight lorry drivers to other vehicles, traffic control centres and surrounding infrastructure. The network helps to notify the vehicles of potentially hazardous situations, incidents and even animals on the motorway. Connected vehicles could save 11k lives each year, leading to 260k fewer accidents and saving 280 million hours of driving.
Wireless connectivity is being successfully deployed to reduce accidents and improve road safety across the world. The Advanced Connected Vehicles Victoria trials in Australia tested capabilities such as emergency braking alerts and right turn assistance over 4G; they also provided a glimpse into how 5G could shape the future of the automotive industry—the Quality of Service link is a precursor to the network slicing that will allow 5G to make a huge impact in many industries.
On the Sichuan Highway in Shanghai, 5G connected smart motorways have been introduced to identify accidents and hazards, enabling real-time responses, delivering help more quickly to those who need it and minimising the potential for knock-on accidents. The Colorado Department of Transport is strategically deploying V2X capabilities on a 90 mile stretch of mountain highway, where sharp bends, steep gradients and extreme weather conditions have made it an accident hotspot.
Closer to home, a high-tech ‘corridor’ was created on the A2/M2 in Kent to let specially-equipped vehicles interact with roadside infrastructure in a move that promises safer journeys. The project used a 5G wireless network to transmit information about road conditions, road works and time left for traffic lights to change to green, all designed to boost road safety.
During a live demo event in Turin, the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) showcased ready-to-deploy use cases in the streets of the city and a sneak preview of what the future has in store. It concluded that the network could prevent incidents at dangerous intersections (as a result of V2X direct-short range communications between vehicles).
Automation enabled by 5G also helps to improve the safety of workers, by minimising their presence and involvement in hazardous environments and tasks. For instance, Network Rail has highlighted that 5G could be used to deploy drones to investigate potential obstructions or people on train tracks. This eliminates the need for workers on tracks, an activity which poses significant risk to safety. Network Rail’s TSIP (train and station innovation for performance) collaboration project is addressing these use-cases with technology trials.
Similarly, ports and airports the world over are exploring how 5G can facilitate automation. The 5G Ports project in the Port of Felixstowe is using advanced connectivity to enable remote-controlled cranes while the Port of Livorno has deployed a fleet of automated guided vehicles and Brussels airport, autonomous ground support equipment. These deployments deliver operational efficiencies but also help to reduce the presence of workers in high-risk environments, delivering a strong boost to worker safety.
At Haneda Airport in Tokyo, 5G is bringing value to airlines by addressing skill gaps. Technicians can access remote experts through augmented and virtual reality, providing them with full visibility of repairs and problems through real-time sharing of ultra high-definition images and 3D reconstructions. Lufthansa Technik has meanwhile deployed a private standalone 5G network that enables collaborative virtual engine inspections between technicians on the aircraft and engineers in Hamburg.
Through 5G MoNArch, the Port of Hamburg is also using 5G to support their engineering team through augmented and virtual reality applications. Engineers are assisted in their day-to-day work with easy mobile access to construction plans and information on buildings, in addition to other technical installations within the port area; this is made possible by on-demand provisioning of the available data and documentation through AR/VR applications. The equipment is connected to a central application server through the 5G mobile network, using a dedicated network slice.
Similarly, the Port of Rotterdam is equipping Shell engineers with industrial tablets connected to 5G. These can be used to provide augmented reality information to support their maintenance activities (for example, temperature or pressure of the process installation). The network also allows staff to stay in touch via video and audio with experts, speeding up time taken for maintenance activities.