m3connect team develops demo vehicle for networking industrial systems

The introduction of the 5G mobile communications standard is opening up new business potential in industry and services. But how securely do time-critical applications function when switching between radio systems and how can the changeover from WiFi to pLTE networks or 5G networks be efficiently designed? A creative team from m3connect’s Cellular Solutions division has constructed a model car that m3connect is using to test the networking of industrial systems.

5G technology gives wirelessly connected manufacturing robots, transport systems or augmented reality applications the necessary reliability. It reduces latency to the range of milliseconds and enables data-intensive machine communication via radio – provided it is field-tested and works without interference, a claim that put the m3connect team on the map. 

As small as the approximately 30 cm long model car is, its usefulness as a demonstration case for data transmission is enormous. Equipped with sensors, drive, steering and LTE modem, it offers all the prerequisites for tests and experiments on bidirectional real-time communication. On board are temperature, humidity and other sensors whose values are transmitted and processed as examples for other systems. GPS data, for example, can also be transported in the same way. The model is controlled via a computer or smartphone. Data is transmitted via the MQTT protocol, which also enables the cloud-based integration of IoT services. 

The idea to build a model arose from the intensive work on concepts for the introduction of 5G in the automotive industry. The young specialists around Justin Eichenlaub, Head of Cellular Solutions at m3connect, wanted to condense previous experience and build a learning platform for the development of efficient implementation concepts. m3connect promotes creative projects like this and gives freedom for innovative ideas. Thus, our former intern Heba Kashkash laid the foundations for this project. Kai Mauckner, master’s student in electrical engineering at Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences (HSD) and m3connect employee since 2021, subsequently implemented and supervised this project.

For Kai Mauckner, the model car proves the effectiveness of the m3connect concept: “Our model car is a demonstration case for wireless networking of industrial systems. We will use it to analyze the transitions and handovers in the radio system and show how the upgrades from pLTE to 5G work smoothly.”

Equipping companies with private LTE (pLTE) and 5G networks improves productivity and creates new dimensions of digitalization. The results from the project are incorporated into the networking concepts for industrial real-time communication developed by m3connect.