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5G networks let construction workers in Germany clear building sites in South Korea


As network speeds increase, and latency falls, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the future of remote working.


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Recently there have been a flurry of developments in the construction industry that are revolutionising how we build our cities and communities, from the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms that can design cities so humans don’t have to, through to the emergence of autonomous drones that will act as site foremen controlling and directing fleets of autonomous construction vehicles and even autonomous cranes, as well as autonomous 3D printing robot swarms as they print everything from 80 storey skyscrapers, family homes, military barracks, and entire communities in just days. However, while the arrival of fully automated construction sites is probably inevitable, new communications networks like 5G are also helping revolutionise the industry in new ways after South Korean conglomerate Doosan Corporation announced they’ve become the world’s first company to use a state of the art 5G network to operate an excavator in South Korea when the operator was sitting in a seat more than 8,500km away in Germany.


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The demonstration was carried out at Doosan’s stand at the Bauma construction machinery trade fair in Munich where staff used 3D machine guidance, real time diagnostics and a full gauge display to operate a 40-tonne DX380LC crawler excavator located eight time zones away in Incheon.


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The concept, which is called Telepresence, uses a 5G system set up by LG, which it says the new network is 10 times faster than its existing 4G networks, and the successful result means that teleoperations operators now no longer have to be based in the country where the equipment is based. Furthermore, the use of 5G means that the control of the remote machinery is no longer hampered by communication lags that were the bane of previous attempts to use TeleOperation to control machinery.


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Doosan says the system can be used to carry out work on sites that are contaminated by toxic or radioactive substances, as well as offering remote training for operators.

The company comments: “It is also useful for work on collapsing waste piles and in areas where there are buried mines and other munitions. Safety can be further increased via the zoning and area limitation functions available through the Doosan TeleOperation system.”

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