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M1 and SUTD to jointly develop 5G robotics technology

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Yeo Kiat Seng (second from left), SUTD associate provost for research and international relations, and Denis Seek, chief technical officer at M1, signed the memorandum of understanding for the research partnership, during SUTD’s annual Fostering Industrial Research Success Together (FIRST) Industry Workshop.

TELCO M1 Limited and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are collaborating to deep dive into the development of 5G technologies for advanced robotics systems.

Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Wednesday for the research partnership around the remote operation of tactile robots using 5G technology, they announced in a joint media statement.

M1 will provide and deploy the supporting 5G network, which will build the telco’s technical competency in 5G system deployment, and allow it to explore potential use cases of 5G.

Meanwhile, an indoor network test-bed of 5G small cells will be set up in SUTD, for researchers and students to test 5G technologies.

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Key areas of focus and application include tactile security, delivery and mascot robots; real-time remote sensing; real-time remote operation of robots and e-scooters; and virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) content delivery with 360-degree video streaming.

5G technology can support ultra-reliable low latency communication that is well suited for secured remote command and control of robots, said Denis Seek, chief technical officer of M1.

The test bed will translate innovative research into practical solutions for the government and enterprises, as well as cultivate a talent pipeline to drive Singapore’s Smart Nation goals.

SUTD and M1 will be the first in Singapore to trial an indoor 5G system, said Yeo Kiat Seng, SUTD’s associate provost for Research and International Relations.

This industry-academia collaboration will help to develop innovations and new solutions in the university’s 5G-enhanced autonomous mobility and robotics platforms, Prof Yeo added.

Besides helping M1 build its in-house 5G technical competencies, the research partnership will also attract students to participate in the telco’s experimental 5G projects, according to M1’s Mr Seek.

This nurtures the students to “become future leaders who can drive technology change and apply innovative technology that could make a difference to the lives of Singaporeans as we transform to a digital economy”, Mr Seek said. 

Last month, M1 won a 5G trial tech call from the Infocomm Media Development Authority and PSA Corporation to study 5G performance and capabilities for port applications, including tele-remote control of port equipment and enhancing automated guided vehicles operations.

Freshly privatised M1 is owned by Keppel Corporation and Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes The Business Times. The telco delisted from the Singapore bourse in April.