KDDI, Obayashi and NEC use 5G and 4K 3D monitoring to remotely control construction machinery
- Realization of safer and faster disaster recovery with remote operations of construction machinery -
Tokyo, February 15, 2018 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701), KDDI Corporation and Obayashi Corporation today announced the successful remote control of construction machinery for the first time in Japan using a 5G next-generation communications system and 4K 3D monitoring(*). This field experiment was conducted at Obayashi's Tokyo Machinery Plant (Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture) from February 1 to 14, 2018.
These technologies will help to relieve the risk of injury when conducting hazardous operations, such as disaster recovery efforts, where image-based remote control of construction machinery is often required, without the need for operators to be physically on board.
However, since the movement of remotely operated construction machinery is slower than when operated manually onboard, it has been reported that work efficiency is reduced by 40 to 50% when compared to onboard operations. This is primarily because remote operations must rely on images from cameras installed on the construction machinery and in overhead areas.
This field experiment applied 5G communications features, such as speed and high capacity, to the remote operation of construction machinery. By realizing transmission of high-resolution images, which had been difficult to achieve with previous mobile communications systems, the experiment succeeded in increasing the efficiency of remote operator movements by vastly increasing the amount of information provided to them. Compared with previous remote operations, the workload efficiency improved 15 to 25%.
For the field experiment, a total of five cameras – two high-resolution 4K cameras, one 2K omnidirectional camera and two 2K overhead cameras – were installed in order to observe and operate construction machinery. Images from these cameras were transmitted to the remote operations room by beamforming using a massive-element active antenna system, supporting a 28 GHz band.
In the remote operations room, it was possible to correctly perceive depth when compared with previous monitoring. This achievement was made possible by the introduction of 4K 3D monitoring, which enables stereopsis (binocular vision), even with the naked eye. The experiment confirmed that, as a result, work efficiently greatly improved.
This demonstration of remote control of construction machinery should help to advance safe and speedy recovery work in disaster areas where workers cannot reach.
This field experiment was carried out as part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications' 5G Integrated Verification Trial, under its Research and Development for Expansion of Radio Wave Resources program.
Going forward, KDDI, Obayashi and NEC will continue to develop advanced construction technologies that leverage 5G, such as "operator-less construction machinery" and "real-time remote construction."
- (*)According to KDDI research as of February 15, 2018
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