News

ACCIONA, 5GBarcelona and ORANGE promote the use of 5G networks in industrial projects

9 March, 2018
  • Under this internationally groundbreaking innovation agreement, ACCIONA and 5GBarcelona will work together in the application of 5G networks in the industrial sector, prior to these networks becoming commercially available
  • The first pilot projects under this agreement, operated by telecom company ORANGE, will be realised in self-driving construction machinery and automated logistics facilities at large industrial plants

ACCIONA and 5GBarcelona, represented by Macarena Carrión, Chief of Staff of the former, and Carlos Grau, CEO of MWCapital, have signed a groundbreaking innovation agreement for the use of 5G networks. Its aim is to develop pilot industrial projects applied to ACCIONA’s activity sectors (construction, renewable energy, water and services). This collaboration agreement, with an initial duration of three years, will give ACCIONA access to 5G networks that will not be commercially available until early in the next decade.

ACCIONA-5GBarcelona-Orange

5GBarcelona: the first pilots

The first projects under the innovation agreement will be carried out with telecommunications operator ORANGE and will consist of 5G network applications in driverless machinery on civil engineering projects and for logistics tasks at industrial plants.

To make it possible to conduct these pilot projects, ORANGE will offer an initial roll-out using LTE-M (pre-5G) technology to enable ACCIONA to test the use cases and implement improvements between 2018 and the full roll-out of 5G.

In the application for civil engineering projects, ACCIONA will test the use of 5G networks in both self-driving and remotely operated machinery. For self-driving machinery, 5G networks enable all the computer power to be located in the cloud (requiring the transfer of a huge volume of data, not feasible over 4G), making it unnecessary for the processors to be physically installed in each machine, which will cut costs. In the case of remotely operated machinery, the new bandwidth will enable the operation of equipment remotely in real time, preventing latency issues.

Among the advantages of these applications of 5G networks in construction are the reduction of workplace risks, faster execution times and the possibility of creating a centralised team of specialists in operating machinery of this type that will not have to travel to each ACCIONA work site but may work remotely.

With regard to logistics, ACCIONA proposes to automate loading and transport processes in automobile assembly plants (where it has considerable experience through its services subsidiary, ACCIONA Service). To this end, it will use collaborative and autonomous robots with the capacity to detect and avoid obstacles.

These use cases implemented by ACCIONA, MWCapital and ORANGE evidence the potential of the pilot projects to be launched within the framework of 5GBarcelona. This initiative, supported by the Catalonia regional government, Barcelona municipality, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, i2CAT Foundation, Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), Atos and Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), will make the city a European 5G digital hub flagship.

As part of the agreement, ACCIONA, through its I’MNOVATION initiative, will work with 4YFN (4 Years From Now), the business platform promoted by MWCapital that connects startups, investors, large corporations and public institutions. The goal will be to nurture the industrial startup ecosystem at an international level and conduct pilot projects with startups in such areas as smart cities, IoT/industry 4.0 and Big Data solutions.

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