Telia tests 5G-powered autonomous vessels

Telia and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim team up to test how 5G can be used for self-driving ferries.

This is the first part of a larger collaboration between Telia and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) where Telia facilitates several pilots. NTNU is responsible for the development of control systems, the boat itself, and all other equipment.

The research boat “milliAmpére” is now being tested in the canal in Trondheim, Norway, where Telia together with Ericsson have arranged for live testing by upgrading the mobile network to support 5G. Telia has also contributed with 5G equipment to NTNU so that the little vessel can communicate with the control center and its surroundings over the mobile network.

“It is very exciting for us to work with the internationally leading academic community at NTNU for the development of autonomy in the maritime sector, and we are delighted to be able to contribute with new technology. This pilot is a very good example of how 5G can be used for something quite concrete,” says Jon Christian Hillestad, head of the enterprise business Telia in Norway.

Telia has high expectations for autonomous vehicles, both on land, in the air and on sea, and sees that 5G technology will be a prerequisite for safe and fast communication:
“Autonomous vehicles rely on superfast real-time data transmission and need both secure connection to the network and low latency, which is characteristic of 5G. This will be the first time we test 5G on self-driving vehicles in Norway, and we will gain valuable experience and knowledge of how the technology works for autonomous systems in transportation,” says Hillestad.

Egil Eide, associate professor at the Institute of Electronic Systems, explains how it works: 
“The data is analyzed so that the vessel finds its way itself and avoids any obstacles, and at the same time the distance to the quay is measured so that the boat can safely moor itself.”

“In the event of a sea emergency, the vessel can also be remotely controlled from the control center via the same mobile network.”

Watch the boat, equipped with sensors and the latest technology, navigating autonomously across the canal in this video: