Why stress out human delivery personnel to rush food to your office when a long-range robot can do the job?

As far as smart city aspirations go, Singapore has the right size and infrastructural wherewithal to “fail fast, fail often, and pivot”.

In a recent announcement, two private business entities have partnered with a government corporation to conduct trials for Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) operating on 5G standalone protocols. The trial is supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), which is focused on supporting and nurturing the growth of 5G use cases on the island.

Notification: Your sanitized COVID-19-resistant food delivery robot has arrived with your food.

The tripartite project—between telco M1, a research subsidiary of automotive firm Continental and the Singapore government’s industrialization JTC agency—will explore the operations of 5G-enabled AMRs in a live environment, based on newly-developed network and infrastructure solutions for consumers, as well as the enhancement of construction safety using video analytics.

Results from the trial will determine the infrastructure needed for the operation of AMRs for last mile delivery of goods and food; to support the burgeoning growth of e-commerce, and to drive innovation for connected mobility.

Three corporate roles

M1 will focus on network architecture and planning and take on project management to implement the 5G SA network infrastructure for AMRs operations. Continental will deploy its Last Mile Delivery Robot named Corriere LM, to demonstrate its technology for driverless mobility systems. JTC will provide the trial spaces and facilitate discussions with tenants and operators on potential user trials.

The trials will be carried out in Jurong Innovation District (JID), at locations such as the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous Vehicles (CETRAN), JTC developments in CleanTech Park, and construction projects in the district. JTC will also assess the trial performance to further enhance the infrastructure for safe operations of the AMRs as well as construction safety at JTC sites, using video analytics for detection of safety violations and provision of real-time alerts.

Technological implications

According to the IMDA’s Trade and Connectivity Cluster Director Liau Eng Soon, 5G SA networks are going to be the real game changer for 5G technology, and his agency will continue to invest in the development of a secure and resilient 5G communications network and ecosystem to bring about exciting opportunities for individuals, workers and businesses. “We welcome more industry partners to join us in co-creating new possibilities in Singapore’s 5G journey,” he added.

The three corporate partners will use the trials to showcase their commitment to help develop the respective areas of low-latency, responsive, secured and high-throughput mobile 5G SA connectivity; expertise in autonomous vehicle technology, delivery robotics, and seamless mobility at the last mile; and finally physical infrastructure that facilitates the testing and commercialization of smart city innovations.