Finnish 5G research collaboration kicks off
Nokia, Sandvik pair with VTT to advance underground mines Metal Tech News - August 18, 2021
Last updated 8/24/2021 at 3:39pm
Following last year's announcement of Nokia's 5G standalone private wireless networks, Nokia and early collaborator Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology have announced a partnership with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland to start a research project focusing on 5G-powered underground mining technology.
Aptly called Next Generation Mining (NGMining), the partners say the new project will bring together industrial 5G private networks, edge computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology-based solutions to enable safety, productivity, and sustainability improvements in mining operations.
"VTT supports all project partners by coordinating the project," said Sauli Eloranta, vice-president of VTT. "In addition, the research VTT applies further strengthens the competences related to telecommunication technology, situation-awareness, sensor technologies, edge computing and AI on new application areas in mining context."
The NGMining project aims to build proof of concept experimental systems to evaluate integrated connectivity solutions to be tested in harsh underground mining environments. The objectives pertaining to the 5G network infrastructure cover spectrum usage, 5G modems integrated into relevant machinery and user equipment, and edge computing.
"Collaboration across the ecosystem is essential for developing winning technology solutions that will meet productivity and sustainability targets and capture global market share in the growing mining business," said Jarkko Pellikka, director of Nokia's Unlocking Industrial 5G program.
By engaging with key industry players in the mining segment, the intention is to drive joint experiments for mining digitalization.
Furthermore, the project seeks to develop mine-compliant connectivity infrastructure with integrated solutions that incorporate safety and tracking technologies and AI enablers for the safe and efficient operation of autonomous connected working machines in underground mines.
The two-year NGMining project kicked off in May this year. The project phases include use case definition via testing platforms with 4G and 5G wireless capabilities, selection of most value-added results for development and commercialization, and pilot implementations in operational customer mines.
According to VTT, the project will be undertaken in Finland, as it has a unique industry ecosystem that enables the creation and piloting of technologies, solutions, and business models. Furthermore, the partnership will continue to grow as it takes on new challenges and additional domestic and international partners.
Already, the project includes input from the University of Oulu as a research partner, as well as numerous other company partners, and the project advisory board consists of representatives from Outokumpu and Agnico Eagle Finland, Telia 5G Business, Kalmar, and Ponsse.