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Remote Operation Technology for Construction Machinery with Next-Generation 5G Mobile Communication System and 4K 3D Monitor

KDDI, Obayashi Corporation, and NEC Achieve a Nationwide First! Successful Remote Operation of Construction Machinery with 5G and a 4K 3D Monitor
Autonomous Operation of Construction Machinery Makes Safe and Fast Disaster Recovery a Reality

KDDI Corporation (https://www.kddi.com/english/), Obayashi Corporation, and NEC Corporation (https://www.nec.com/) became the first in Japan to successfully remotely operate construction machinery using a next generation 5G mobile communication system and a 4K 3D monitor during demonstration testing .

Testing was performed at Obayashi Corporation’s Tokyo Machinery Plant (the current East Japan Robotics Center, 1-10-4 Minamidai, Kawagoe City, Saitama) from February 1 to 14, 2018. Dangerous jobs, such as disaster relief work, necessitate the introduction of autonomous construction machinery, which a user operates remotely from a distance by relying on live video footage. This removes the requirement for users to man machinery in risky areas.
However, since remotely operated machinery moves slower than it would with an operator on board, its efficiency is reduced to 50 to 60%. The main factor when carrying out remote operation is that users rely solely on video from onboard cameras, as well at bird’s eye footage of the machinery.
Characterized by its high speed and large capacity, 5G was used in the remote operation of the construction machinery to allow the transmission of high-resolution videos—a challenge with current mobile communication systems—during the demonstration testing. This in turn reduces the burden on the remote operator by increasing the amount of data they receive, thereby improving the efficiency of remote operation by 15 to 25%.
Demonstration testing was performed using two high-definition 4K cameras, one 2K omnidirectional camera, and two bird’s eye cameras mounted on existing construction machinery. Live video footage from all five cameras was transmitted to a remote control room via beamforming using a 28-GHz super multi-element antenna. The remote control room was equipped with a 4K-compatible 3D monitor capable of producing stereoscopic video (to create the illusion of three-dimensional depth) that is natural to the naked eye, therefore the operator is able to perceive depth more accurately than they would using a conventional monitor. The testing confirmed that significant improvements can be made to work efficiency.
This system allows intricate operations to be performed remotely and recovery work to be carried out safely and quickly even at disaster sites that are not accessible to human workers.
The testing was carried out as a 5G Comprehensive Demonstration Test, as part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Technical Examination Services.

Company Roles

  1. KDDI

    Implementing the 5G Comprehensive Demonstration Test as part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Technical Examination Services (*2). Area design of the 5G system.

  2. Obayashi Corporation

    Developing and testing the remote operation system of the construction machinery.

  3. NEC

    Developing and testing the communication equipment with a 28-GHz super multi-element antenna.

Based on a KDDI study. Uses a 4K 3D monitor and the high speed and large capacity transmission of 5G to transmit video data.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is conducting the Technical Examination Services project to investigate feasible technologies that would allow the effective use of radio waves, with the aim of implementing the technology as soon as possible. For additional details, please refer to “Development of Technical Examination Services Concerning Frequency Crowding,” published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

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