Six UK cities to share £30m 5G innovation funding

Posted on August 3, 2020 by Alistair Hardaker

RAF Tempest concept

RAF Tempest concept

New tech projects in Sunderland, Preston, Liverpool, Manchester, Brighton and Suffolk will share a new £30m government fund to test the benefits of modern connectivity on UK industries.

The funding comes from 5G Create, an open competition to find new uses for 5G as part of a wider £200m 5G Testbeds and Trials programme (5GTT).

The £30 million package consists of £16.4 million from the government match-funded by organisations ranging from large tech and telecoms companies to SMEs and local authorities.

The use of AI-controlled traffic lights to reduce pollution and congestion will be tested in Manchester and the potential for remote music festivals using 5G will be tested by Brighton Dome.

A project in Preston will aim to deliver the RAF’s Tempest fighter jet at half its current cost while BT Sport will explore how 5G can transform watching live sports through virtual reality.

A private 5G network will be developed in Liverpool to provide remote NHS video consultations for low-income families unable to afford good connectivity.

Another trial at the Nissan factory in Sunderland will look at 5G’s ability to boost productivity through use of autonomous trucks.

Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: “We are helping innovative thinkers across Britain use their creativity to harness the power of 5G and boost economic productivity, cut pollution and congestion, and develop the next generation of entertainment.

“The new funding we are announcing today will help us pioneer new ways to seize the opportunities of 5G and bring tangible benefits for consumers and businesses across the country.”

Among the projects is the 5G FoF (Factory of the Future), a £9.5m project with £4.7m DCMS funding , the largest announced in this round of funding.

BAE Systems, Advanced Manufacturing Catapult and IBM will lead the project in Preston that aims to deliver the RAF’s Tempest future fighter jet in half the time.

The project aims to develop integrated solutions to some of the key challenges to deploying 5G technologies in manufacturing, using 5G to test use cases such as robotic assembly, reconfigurable product assembly lines and distributed and shared VR/AR.

The programme will establish a primary site at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West and secondary sites in BAE Systems Warton and AMRC Sheffield.

Andy Schofield, Manufacturing and Materials Technology Director said: “5G technology is core to enabling the next generation of digital manufacturing processes and the acceleration of digital technology adoption across the manufacturing sector. The 5G FoF programme will drive forward holistic connectivity and unlock the potential of industrial digitisation.

“It will define a new paradigm for how future factories will operate enabling connectivity and business agility both across manufacturing operations and beyond into the supply chain.”

The government said a second round of new projects to receive funding through 5G Create will be announced in autumn.

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