Recently, Dr. Yuqian Lu was interviewed by 1News reporter, Logan Church about how a 5G-enabled environment can accelerate productivity in conjunction with AI and robotics, and how 5G technology could possibly enable real-time robot control from the cloud.

In 2021, Yuqian received a seed grant from SfTI National Science Challenge. Titled ‘Ultra-reliable time-sensitive industrial control in the cloud’, his project aims to combine three cutting-edge technologies – automation, artificial intelligence, and 5G communication – to improve robotic control in industrial settings. And he’s collaborating with telecoms experts at Spark and Nokia, and computer scientists at Victoria University of Wellington to make this a reality.

Today, the communication networks that connect industrial robots are via wired connections between a local controller and the robot body. This reduces the time it takes to transmit and receive data, ensuring that a robot arm does exactly what its instructed to, at precisely the right moment. However, if this communication could instead happen in the cloud wirelessly, it could offer incredible opportunities, as Yuqian explains. “Imagine if one day, we could have the world’s top surgeon based in the US remotely operating on a patient in Auckland Hospital via robots. Or a fleet of industrial robots are centrally managed remotely” Our current 4G network doesn’t allow for sufficiently fast and reliable data exchange, so Yuqian is looking ahead to 5G. “The critical piece of the SfTI research is to develop smart algorithms that can compensate for issues that may occur even during 5G data transmission? So that, from an application perspective, a robot can move smoothly, in a time-sensitive way.”

Link to UoA News: Big potential for future of industrial robotics

Attached are some photos of the interviewing/filming sessions.