Ericsson and Audi demonstrate human and robot interaction through 5G

At the Hannover Messe, Swedish network supplier Ericsson, Audi and industrial sensor supplier Sick AG are demonstrating the value of 5G for industrial production. At the Ericsson stand, the companies show how people work together in real time with a wirelessly connected assembly robot.

In the future, production robots and industrial workers will work hand in hand. To enable such a scenario, real-time interaction is required. The key to this is 5G technology with its low latency, with end-to-end delay of less than 10 milliseconds, and its high network stability. As a result, the interaction between man and machine is to become safer. The demonstration at Ericsson’s Hanover Fair stand is an example of interaction in a factory. The robot has sensors connected to the 5G network. As soon as a visitor stretches his hand in the direction of the robot, the robot’s sensors detect this. The robot then hands the guest a pack of mints. “In the future, 5G will be indispensable for enabling flexible, wireless robots to interact reliably and safely with people in production environments,” explains Jan-Peter Meyer-Kahlen, Head of the ICT Development Center Eurolab Aachen. “Only with extremely low latencies and very high availability can the robot, which is connected via 5G, react to humans in real time.

“The human-robot interaction at the Hanover trade fair is just the beginning. With the introduction of 5G in car production, we are gaining completely new possibilities for networking machines via radio,” says Henning Löser, Head of the Audi Production Lab, in which Audi has been testing a local 5G network for vehicle production together with Ericsson since August 2018. “We are absolutely convinced of the potential of the new technology. That’s why we want to build an in-house 5G network that will enable agile and flexible production in the future.”

“5G technology offers valuable features for wireless industrial communication for the use of our sensor solutions in various applications. This type of communication allows fundamental changes in the software architecture for more flexible automation. Therefore, we are currently evaluating 5G technology for industrial use. For example, we see an advantage in the fact that industrial vehicles can use 5G not only inside production halls, but also outside and worldwide on public roads. The example of a robotics application at the Hanover Fair proves how humans and robots can work better together in the future thanks to reliable communication with low latency,” says Sebastian Heidepriem, Head of Wireless Technologies at Sick AG.