By Charles F Moreira, Editor
There are a several reasons why Yang said that 5G is ideal for mining. Firstly, mines are generally located in remote areas where network coverage is weak, so a dedicated network needs to be constructed. 5G is a great option, as it is relatively easy to build a 5G network.
Secondly, most of the mining machinery is constantly on the move, so a mobile network is needed. In addition, as blasting is frequently used in mining, fibre networks are not realistic.
Thirdly, in the case of surface mining, only a few cell sites are required to cover the entire mining site.
5G unmanned mines are able to meet multiple needs – i.e. high-definition (HD) image backhaul on mobile devices, intelligent scheduling systems for autonomous driving, cloud computing, and wireless transmission of massive numbers of HD images.
5G networks also enable key breakthroughs in autonomous driving for intelligent mining. Firstly, before 5G, each truck used to require an onboard industrial computer installed to process data. Once 5G is deployed, all data is transmitted from the vehicles to a cloud server for central processing.
Secondly, low latency is crucial to the application of autonomous driving technology for mining. According to Yang Hui, only after latency is reduced to under 30 ms will operators be able to control autonomous driving vehicles without feeling any lag. And only then will traffic and operational safety be assured.
The 5G network, with its low latency, has enabled long-range remote control to become a reality after stagnating for many years. It also increased the speed limit of autonomous mining trucks from 10 kmph to 35 kmph, improving transportation efficiency.
Lastly, 5G enables a positioning precision of less than 1 metre. Replacing GPS with 5G positioning in mines reduces the cost and facilitates more-effective management of personnel and vehicles
The South China Morning Post of 19 June 2019 described how China is counting on 5G to improve health care and that major telecommunications companies are driving 5G initiatives in tele-diagnosis, remote surgeries and smart hospitals across China.
With a population of about 1.4 billion at the end of 2018, there is a high probability for healthcare to become a application for 5G cellular connectivity, due to an acute shortage of qualified doctors and nurses.
In April that year, surgeons at the People’s Hospital of Gaozhou for the first time got first-hand experience on how ultra-fast 5G connection works, when they performed an operation on a 41-year-old female patient whose congenital cardiac defect had deteriorated due to heart failure.
A team of doctors at the Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital about 400km away monitored the procedure and provided instructions to the surgeons remotely in real time over a 5G-linked consultation system.
“Try to stay away from the triangle area mapped in 3D, or else stitches could cause myocardial damage,” said the Guangdong doctors, who watched the surgery live on a high-definition screen, while two other displays showed the patient’s dynamic ultrasonography and a three-dimensional rendering of her heart. The surgeons in Gaozhou had the same set of screens in their operating room.
CHINA INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRY FAIR
Meanwhile, China’s “big three” telecommunications companies demonstrated various applications of 5G connectivity at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai from 17th to 21st September 2019.
In a pilot project of a an application called “Digital Twins”, Shanghai Tobacco Machinery Co. Ltd., collaborated with China Mobile to generate digital replicas of a factory’s complete inventory of physical machinery. Through simulations and analyses of a machine’s digital counterpart, companies will be able to detect flaws more quickly and efficiently.
First applied in the aviation industry, “Digital Twin” technology was used to design, test and improve aircraft without having to actually fly them, thus saving costs.
The high speed of a 5G network lets companies monitor and make adjustments to their assembly lines in real time
China Unicom exhibited how a pair of 5G-enhanced augmented reality glasses can be used to train employees or to streamline their tasks. For example, these 5G-enhanced glasses let workers access information on the cloud and also share their field of vision with an expert in a remote location in real time.
According to Zhang Xiangwei, a solution manager with China Unicom who spoke to the publication Sixth One, previous remote augmented reality interactions were not responsive enough due to severe latency but this problem has the potential of being solved by 5G which can enable a real-time augmented reality experience without dropping frames or lagging. Also, 5G should solve the problem of dizziness experienced by people using augmented reality devices.
China Mobile’s booth demonstrated the use of a 5G-connected virtual reality headset and electronic scalpel to let medical professionals see the position of a hypothetical patient’s heart, liver, lungs, and other organs, as well as virtually perform surgery without actually cutting into flesh.
This applications is expected to help students, residents, and other less experienced medical staff to prepare for real surgeries. The 5G network enables them to have high-speed access to medical content content on the cloud, such as detailed, 3D diagrams of the human body, and lets them virtually practice surgical techniques they’ve learned in the most realistic virtual environment possible.
A video shown by China Telecom explained how someone wearing a virtual reality headset could go through digital troves of Communist Party educational materials or virtually visit the “Red tourist attractions” across China over the 5G network.
These Red tourist attractions feature historical artefacts, memorabilia and souvenirs of China’s communist struggles and achievements.
According to China Daily of 21 November 2019, China’s 5G market will be open to the purchase of 5G communications equipment from both domestic and foreign suppliers without discrimination.
“China always sticks to equal and fair principles when purchasing 5G telecommunications equipment. We never preset the market shares for domestic and foreign enterprises,” said Miao Wei, minister of Industry and Information Technology.
“Delivering good 5G products and services is the only way to increase the market share in China,” Miao added.
To read part 2 of the article, click HERE