Industry consortium develops “tactile” Internet

December 05, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
An essential prerequisite for the success of "Industry 4.0", aka "Industrial Internet" is real-time capable networking with extremely low latency. The development of the technology for such a "tactile" Internet is the goal of the project TACNET 4.0.

Based on 5G mobile phone technology, the project aims to further develop the so-called "tactile Internet" for the digitization of production and robotics. Thus, oriented to the needs of the market, a basis for diverse industrial applications is created. The project is coordinated by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), together with Nokia Bell Labs.

The future network will allow very high data rates and have response times that are not perceptible to humans, because they are under one millisecond. However, the highest level of reliability and real-time communication required for networked production (industry 4.0) is not yet fully supported in the first phase. TACNET 4.0 will therefore first of all develop the concepts and algorithms required for this, and thus create the prerequisites for many industry 4.0 applications, such as the direct interaction between man and machine or wireless process control.

One of the most important aspects of TACNET 4.0 is the local and cross-location secure transmission of data with minimal delay, e. g. for remote control of machines. Professor Hans Schotten, Head of the Intelligent Networks Research Unit at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern and coordinator of TACNET 4.0, explains: "Innovative 5G technologies can support demanding and hitherto unrealizable scenarios in process and production automation. One such scenario is, for example, the remote control of mobile machines or robots that are used in hazardous work environments or require operation by locally unavailable specialist personnel. To this end, the project is also investigating new approaches such as big data analytics, edge-cloud supported real-time control and remote services."

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