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Tests show that 5G out-performs Wi-Fi for AMRs

21 February, 2022

Kollmorgen has joined forces with Ericsson to test the use of 5G transmissions on AMRs (autonomous mobile robots). They believe that 5G will enable new levels of AI and machine learning, simplify infrastructure requirements, and increase network stability for AMR applications.

“We want to push the boundaries of mobile robot applications,” says Kollmorgen’s director of r&d, Peter Bladh. “5G holds the key to unlocking more advanced routing of intralogistics, generating better insights, improving predictive maintenance, and speeding up commissioning. It is also likely going to be the future standard of industrial communication infrastructure.”

5G has several advantages over Wi-Fi in AMR applications. Its greater bandwidth can extract more data, while its low latency allows heavy computational loads to be moved to the cloud. That means that the computational performance is not limited by an AMR’s onboard processing power. It could also result in cost savings because advanced computations would not need expensive local servers.

5G infrastructure is also potentially much easier to set up than Wi-Fi, and it could result in more reliable coverage. In addition, 5G can help to pinpoint vehicles in dynamic environments without needing artificial landmarks.

Kollmorgen’s tests with Ericsson have been carried out on both a private 5G network and a public 4G network, using an AMR controlled by Kollmorgen’s NDC S platform. The Wi-Fi link to the vehicle controller was replaced by 5G. The hardware and software ran as stably on 5G as on Wi-Fi, while handovers between 5G antennae were seamless. Achieving stable roaming between access points is a challenge when using Wi-Fi for fast-moving mobile robots.

“These tests are just the beginning of our 5G journey,” says Bladh. “Our initial aim was to prove that our NDC Solution platform is agnostic to the type of communication link used, and explore the performance differences between 5G and Wi-Fi. Having done so, we are confident to say that NDC Solutions is 5G-ready.”

5G transmissions could bring many benefits to autonomous mobile robots

Kollmorgen’s NDC platform is already used for driverless logistics automation systems by customers including Toyota Material Handling, Jungheinrich and Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe.

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Ericsson:  Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook

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