In the initial phase of the project, a 5G development system consisting of new and existing technologies will be utilised to remotely control a Volvo truck used for transporting ore in a mine operated by Boliden.
Called the ‘Pilot for Industrial Mobile Communication in Mining’, the project is being undertaken as part of the 5G for Sweden programme.
Launched by Ericsson in March this year, 5G for Sweden has quickly gained momentum. It gathers major industrial players, universities and research institutes with the aim of developing information and communications technology (ICT) solutions based on 5G standards.
The mining industry pilot is a joint cooperation between Ericsson, ABB, Boliden, SICS Swedish ICT and Volvo Construction Equipment. Its aim is to find solutions that can be applied in an industry that has traditionally been seen as having a hazardous and challenging operational environment.
By harnessing 5G technology, which can accommodate the industry's very high requirements on latency and reliability, productivity can be increased, while improving safety for those working in the mines.
Torbjörn Lundahl, program manager at 5G for Sweden, said: “The successful implementation of such technology could and should lead to improved safety. More connected machines and devices mean fewer people will be required to work underground. The seamless integration of over- and underground activities will help improve safety and productivity, as well as enabling better monitoring and remote control.”
Mikael Walter, system technology manager at Boliden, commented: “We are constantly seeking to refine and develop our work practices and processes, and we can clearly see the benefit of digital technology in the mining industry. I really look forward to seeing the results.”
Sara Mazur, vice president and head of Ericsson Research, stated: “We are eager to research the challenges faced by the mining industry. The idea is to identify areas where mining operations can be improved through the use of mobile communication. This is in line with Ericsson's vision of a networked society in which everything that can benefit from being connected, will be.”
The 5G for Sweden programme is designed to drive digitalisation. It aims to strengthen the competiveness of Swedish industry through the effective development and integration of ICT solutions into products and services based on 5G.
The programme will initiate research that can be applied across industries and can help to create new projects at universities and research institutes, as well as several industry pilots of possible 5G solutions.