UWB sensor network successfully tested in industrial environment

July 08, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
UWB sensor network successfully tested in industrial environment
Wireless communication is becoming increasingly important in industrial companies wherever production processes often have to be converted and adapted to changing needs. If new cables had to be laid each time, flexibility would be limited. The University of Klagenfurt and Lakeside Labs GmbH, together with partners, have now tested a UWB network in an industrial environment.

Established data transmission technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have certain disadvantages: they can either transmit only small amounts of data or consume relatively high amounts of energy during transmission. In industrial environments there are other, additional challenges, for example reflections from steel surfaces or walls can interfere with the signals.

In order to open up a new option for wireless data connections in production companies, the researchers from Klagenfurt (Austria) are now using UWB (ultra-wideband), a technology that is already relatively old but has recently experienced a new upswing. Project leader Andreas Kercek explains the advantages: "UWB can transfer large amounts of data due to its physical properties. The signals do not interfere with each other and there is little external interference. UWB also consumes little energy and is robust against interference".

Until now, the technology has mainly been used for position determination. Apple, for example, has integrated a UWB chip into its iPhone 11 for the first time, according to Christian Bettstetter, Professor of Mobile Systems and Scientific Director of Lakeside Labs GmbH. UWB technology has also recently been used in keyless entry systems in the automotive industry: Because it can measure the exact distance to the key, UWB keys can no longer be tricked.

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