M1 Limited (M1) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last 24 July 2019 to embark on a joint research partnership around remote operation of tactile robots using 5G technology, further supporting Singapore’s Smart Nation transformation journey. The MOU was signed at SUTD’s annual Fostering Industrial Research Success Together (FIRST) Industry Workshop, where stakeholders from industry, academia and the Government convened to foster collaborative research and deepen industry-academia ties.

This partnership between M1 and SUTD will see a deep dive into the development of 5G technologies for advanced robotics systems. Through their collective expertise, M1 and SUTD will accelerate innovation in the development of 5G robotics.

M1 will provide and deploy the supporting 5G network, building M1’s technical competency in 5G system deployment and explore potential use cases of 5G. An indoor network testbed of 5G small cells will be set up in SUTD for researchers and students to test out and gain a deeper understanding of the potential of 5G technologies. Key areas of focus and application will include tactile security, delivery and mascot robots, real-time remote sensing, real-time remote operation of robots and e-scooters, as well as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) content delivery with 360o video streaming. The aim of testbed is to translate innovative research into practical solutions for government and enterprises, as well as to cultivate a talent pipeline to drive Singapore’s Smart Nation goals.

“We are pleased to collaborate with M1 to be the first to testbed an indoor 5G system in Singapore. Such an industry-academia collaboration is mutually beneficial as SUTD’s students, faculty and researchers will not only have access to the latest 5G technology, and enhance their relevant knowledge and skills, but also lead to new innovations and solutions in SUTD’s 5G-enhanced autonomous mobility and robotics platforms,” said Professor Yeo Kiat Seng, SUTD Associate Provost for Research and International Relations.

“5G technology is capable of supporting ultra-reliable low latency communication that is well suited for secured remote command and control of robots. The collaboration with SUTD offers us an exciting opportunity to build on our in-house 5G technical competencies and attract students to participate in experimental 5G projects, nurturing them 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,” said Mr Denis Seek, Chief Technical Officer, M1.

Last month, M1 won a 5G Trial Tech Call from Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and PSA Corporation Ltd (PSA) to study 5G performance and capabilities for port applications, including tele-remote control of port equipment and enhancing Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) operations.

Commending the 5G collaboration between M1 and SUTD, Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive of IMDA said, “As we gear up for 5G, we are encouraged to see companies stepping forward and forming partnerships to explore the use of 5G technology to drive transformation in their business models and operations. We welcome more companies to come aboard this exciting journey to develop a vibrant 5G ecosystem.”

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