VITAL-5G Platform and Assets

Antwerp Seaport Available Assets

In the Port of Antwerp trial site, we deploy and demonstrate Assisted Vessel Transport use case, which leverages 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity and network slicing principles to assist vessels in the challenging environment of a port area, i.e., addressing: lack of safety in the port, too large waiting times and excessive gas consumption. To tackle these challenges, we enable remote vessel monitoring in a busy port area, increasing situational awareness in real time, and optimizing assisted vessel navigation through defining optimal routes and speed.
In particular, a real-time digital twin is developed around the vessel to support the assisted vessel operation. In parallel, real-time navigation speed optimization, along with automated path planning and remote vessel monitoring, allow to reduce dwell times and improve operational planning of the vessel, thereby leveraging on AI/ML methodologies. The concept of Network Applications defined in the scope of VITAL-5G project has been used to design and develop these vertical services that support the use case. The high-bandwidth camera feeds and sensor data are sent in real-time from the vessels to the Network Applications running at the 5G edge platform, while assistance to the vessel captain is provided in real-time by sharing the navigable waypoints for an optimal route including the optimal speed. The same trial site can be leveraged by the external experimenters, i.e., the 3rd-party experimenters, which can be either involved in the use case Assisted Vessel Transport to enhance it and experiment with the existing vertical services, or create their own use cases by reusing the network infrastructure (radio, edge, and core), Network Applications, and other tools such as local monitoring platform and slice plugins.

Below, we provide further details on the 5G system components within the Antwerp trial site, as well as the Network Applications that can be reused by the 3rd party experimenters.
Concerning the Antwerp 5G-Testbed, as a core of the Antwerp trial site, it spans the usual 5G SA ecosystem components

  • User Equipment, i.e., a commercial vessel equipped with 5G modem, sensors, and cameras
  • Radio Access Network (RAN) with three gNodeBs installed in the selected area of the Port of Antwerp
  • Transport and Core network
  • 5G Edge network that hosts the Network Application platform, designed and deployed to provide Network Function Virtualization (NFVI) resources for hosting and orchestrating Network Applications tailored to Assisted Vessel Transport use case, by using Open-Source MANO (OSM)-based orchestrator and Openstack/Kubernetes.

Available assets from Antwerp trial site

  • The overall use case is developed via creating vertical services, which are further composed by Network Applications as building blocks. Thus, here we provide a brief overview of the Network Applications that are public and, as such, can be used as building blocks for new vertical services:
  • Real-Time Digital Twin (VA5)
  • Remote Vessel Monitoring (VS5)
  • Assisted Vessel Navigation (VS6)
  • On-Board Data Collection & Interfacing for Vessel Tercofin II (VS8)

The Network Applications developed by 3rd parties can reuse those public Network Applications by interfacing with them (mainly via REST-based interfaces or pub/sub mechanisms deployed via ZeroMQ technology), and thus, using them to build new vertical services, i.e., chains of Network Applications. In addition, we make one of the Network Applications fully available to the 3rd-party experimenters as open-source application whose codebase can be reused and extended to build new Network Applications:

  • Navigation Speed Optimizer (VS7)

In case 3rd-party experimenters are not aiming to build new vertical services and Network Applications, but to rather leverage on VITAL-5G trial sites to collect realistic data for validating their theoretical or simulation-based models, we offer several data types, which can be further extended depending on the needs and requirements from the 3rd-party experimenters. At the moment, the data types available publicly through access to some of the public Network Applications are:

  • Vessel position (longitude, latitude)
  • Vessel speed
  • Vessel heading
  • Data from on-board sensors (radar and/or LiDAR and/or camera)
  • Network data collected from radio and core functions, including the network performance

The role of the 3rd party experimenters in the Antwerp trial site depends on the background knowledge and expertise of the onboarded parties. Thus, we adjust the role based on that, and tune the support depending on whether the 3rd party belongs to T&L industry (SMEs and start-ups), or research and academia domains (research institutes, universities).
In the case of T&L industry, if 3rd party’s business concerns safety and optimization of sailing operations, the following can be obtained:
Tackling safety in sailing operations: the Network Applications for remote vessel monitoring (VS8 and VS5) can be reused to remotely monitor the vessels in a busy port environment, or the digital twin one for improving the situational awareness.

  • Decreasing large waiting times in sailing operations: the Network Applications for increased situational awareness (VA5), assisted path planning (VS6), and speed optimization (VS7), can be tested to experience and visualize how we address this issue.
  • Reducing fuel consumption in port environment: the Network Applications for vessel speed optimization (VS7) and assisted path planning (VS6) can be leveraged to see how we address this issue.

On the other hand, if the 3rd party experimenter is involved in the research and development activities, or are interested in a telco-business-oriented perspective, the following activities can be performed:

  • Testing the impact of 5G network on T&L or other vertical use cases: The Network Applications for assisted vessel navigation can be used on the Antwerp Network Application edge platform, and their performance over 5G SA can be tested in real-time (both real-time and historical data to be collected). Also, the datasets with 5G slicing performance measurements are available for further analysis, or for training ML models. The 5G testbed can be exploited to create and run 3rd party applications (not necessarily T&L, but from other vertical industries) in a vertical-tailored 5G environment.
  • Designing 5G-enhanced applications for other types of verticals: The 3rd party experimenters can use the design principles of applications for assisted vessel navigation as a baseline, or customize the publicly available Network Applications to create their own solution.
  • Testing AI/ML solution in a real-life environment: We offer datasets collected from the vessel sensors, lidar/radar, and 5G network, to train 3rd party ML algorithms, including the opportunities to test the performance of those algorithms in a real-life environment of Port of Antwerp.