Skoda tests 5G network for smarter production process

Volkswagen Group brand Skoda, in partnership with Vodafone, has launched a mobile private 5G network on its Mladá Boleslav site.

Skoda states that the ultra-fast and reliable data transmission technology opens up new production possibilities. The pilot project aims to extensively test and further develop the technology under real conditions.

Christian Schenk, Skoda Board Member for Finance & IT, said: “The private 5G network is a milestone for Skoda on its journey to become a Smart Factory. The technology offers enormous potential for future innovations, for example in predictive maintenance and optical inspections in bodywork. As part of the recently launched pilot project, we are testing 5G in day-to-day operations, and we will also evaluate future uses of this technology to make us even more efficient and flexible.”

Michael Oeljeklaus, Skoda Board Member for Production and Logistics, added: “The 5G standard also opens up new possibilities for autonomous transport in logistics, augmented reality in production and many other applications. One example is the FATA MORGANA application that enables remote support between maintenance and engineering experts in two different continents by creating and communicating a real-time digital twin using 3D objects in augmented reality. This technology takes advantage of the much faster data flow and lower latency of 5G connectivity. The Microsoft HoloLens 2 glasses also improve the efficiency of the digital twin of the scanned area.”

The 5G research network allows data to be securely transmitted locally in real time. The solution uses 5G Standalone (SA) technology, one of the first commercial SA 5G implementations in the Czech Republic. Skoda’s network uses its own frequency spectrum, which is unique to the Skoda Smart Factory; it enables reliable, wireless data transfer and guarantees sufficient bandwidth, even with heavy use. Thanks to 5G, the latency, the time it takes to send data to sensors, machines, vehicles or other devices, can drop to a few milliseconds. This, Skoda says, makes 5G technology significantly faster than WLAN or other wireless communication technologies.

The mobile private 5G network enables new technologies in the context of the Smart Factory concept, for example in the field of Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence and shared data. The next step involves uploading data to completed vehicles over 5G. Another area of ​​application is the intelligent networking of robots and wireless assembly tools.

Skoda has integrated the private 5G network into existing data networks to ensure the necessary data security and to gain experience in deploying this technology. The technology will soon be extended to all areas of production and logistics.

In the future, it will be used to transport vehicles autonomously and in predictive maintenance, and will also be tested in combination with various devices in the Skoda FabLab.

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