SINGAPORE - The fifth generation of wireless networking technology may not be commercially available here yet, but companies will soon be able to test the 5G innovations they are developing at a facility that was launched Thursday (Jan 17).
Located at the Singapore Polytechnic, the 5G Garage will also be the testbed for promising projects by students, including autonomous cars that "know" the perfect route to avoid traffic jams, surveillance drones that can identify intruders using facial recognition and robots that can scale cranes to inspect for damage.
The facility, which is connected to Singtel's pilot 5G network in Ayer Rajah, was launched at the Singapore Polytechnic Engineering Show 2019 and is a collaboration between Singtel, Ericsson and Singapore Polytechnic. Its aim is to co-develop 5G solutions relevant to industries such as transportation and healthcare and facilitate technology transfers from Singtel and Ericsson 5G experts to polytechnic staff and students.
"The 5G Garage will be an exciting place where SP staff and students will work alongside Singtel, Ericsson and their partners to research and experiment with 5G technology, conduct 5G use case trials, and develop innovative 5G solutions and applications for businesses and industry," said the principal and chief executive of SP, Mr Soh Wai Wah.
Out of more than 80 final-year projects developed by around 300 SP engineering students, three were chosen with potential for 5G Garage: an autonomous surveillance system that uses drones; a self-driving vehicle that can send real-time videos of the traffic situation to the cloud for data analysis and "intelligent" decision-making; and a pipe-climbing robot that uses magnetic wheels to attach itself onto metal structures and can provide a live feed of its surroundings via a mobile app.
Mr Mark Chong, group chief technology officer at Singtel, said the engineering students had demonstrated that they were capable of developing engineering solutions and help enterprises.
"As Singapore advances its digital economy and becomes a Smart Nation, the benefits of 5G will first be seen in enterprises, especially in their digital transformation when they integrate technology into their processes, services and products. With 5G standards largely established, now is an opportune time for SMEs and enterprises to join us in shaping our 5G future," he added.
Mr Tan Kiat How, chief executive of Infocomm Media Development Authority, who was the guest of honour at the event, said 5G will be an integral part of Singapore's infrastructure.
He said: "Apart from improved network speed and capacity, 5G's significantly lower latency will allow us to maximise the potential of IoT (Internet of Things) and smart city applications. These include autonomous vehicles, robotics or smart lamp posts."