Target Use Cases

In order to showcase the functionality and added value of the VITAL-5G experimental facility, trials for three internal T&L use cases will be instantiated and executed from vertical industry actors and SMEs participating in the VITAL-5G consortium, addressing key challenges in the sea/river port and warehouse operations domains. Besides addressing challenges in the sea/river port and warehouse environments, the VITAL-5G use cases also address challenges for logistics road operators (transport of cargo between logistics hubs) as provided by one of the largest industrial stakeholders in this area (DHL).

Use Case 1: Automated vessel transport

This use case will be executed in the Port of Antwerp. 5G connectivity and slicing will be used to control semi-autonomous vessels in the challenging environment of a port area. High-bandwidth camera feeds and sensor data are sent in real-time from the vessels to the command centre, and real-time steering commands are sent to the remote vessel. With the current 4G-networks, reliability (in terms of coverage, throughput and latency) and redundancy are pertinent shortcomings to reliably deploy remotely controlled vessels in a port area. As connectivity is currently a main bottleneck, 5G will be able to fulfil these challenging requirements where 4G currently falls short owed to bandwidth, latency and throughput limitations. We aim to build up a real-time digital twin around the vessel to support the remotely controlled (and later on autonomous) vessels.
Each time a vessel enters the port reach, new instances of T&L Network Applications are created (e.g. one instance of on-board data collection & interfacing for vessels’ Network Applications and one instance of the Remote vessel navigation Network Application). Additionally, in order to ensure low latency communication (e.g., to enable quasi-real-time user experience), some instances may run on the edge, and continuous Network Application allocation/reallocation in the different network edges is expected. For that reason, fast service creation times from 5G are required. In terms of 5G communication, 5G URLLC capabilities are mandatory for a dependable functioning of the most critical Network Applications (e.g., Remote vessel navigation).

Use Case 2: 5G connectivity and data-enabled assisted navigation using IoT sensing and video cameras (Galati Danube river port)

This use case, which is realised in collaboration with Romanian partners (ORANGE RO and NAVROM S.A.) and Greek partner Incelligent (INCE), is focused on the implementation of a data-enabled assisted navigation application using IoT sensing system and video cameras installed in Galati port and on a ship and barges (cargos). The T&L Network Application will permit a safer port operation and more security regarding navigation of ships with the help of assisted operation / navigation even in severe weather and water conditions. All sensors and cameras will enable the interoperable wireless protocols over a private 5G network and will permit the extension of Internet connectivity of the sensing system. Several sensors, such as GPS, humidity, smoke, engine power sensors located in the machine room, will be installed on the ship and barges. These sensors provide relevant information, such as velocity, heading, water and wind speed, etc. to the ship local monitoring equipment, allowing the captain and crew to take proper decisions and supporting on-board diagnosis. The crew will also have access to live video streaming from the surroundings through high definition video cameras in order to achieve high-resolution video streams, high connectivity and low latency that is uniquely offered by 5G.
A transceiver will be installed on the ship which will communicate with other ships by exchanging information about different obstacles for collision avoidance, accident detection, emergency messages dissemination or adverse conditions in the way, etc. All associated information will be sent through 5G radio links to a central server located in a major port and will be used as input data to update, in real time, an electronic map containing river parameters (water depth, temperature, velocity, different obstacles) and weather conditions. In order to build an updated reliable map, all data will be analysed and the decision will be taken based on consensus. IoT within 5G network will be used as a key to reduce logistics costs and improve productivity and efficiency to ensure competitiveness.

Use Case 3: Automation & remote operation of freight logistics (Warehouse logistics)

Diakinisis S.A. is a 3rd party Logistics provider with many depots across Greece. The depot that will be used in the framework of the VITAL-5G project incorporates all daily operations met in a typical warehouse, namely, receiving, put-away to stock, picking (and replenishment of picking from stock locations), checking - final preparation of orders (packaging and labelling), shipping and value-adding services, such as co-packing. This use case intends to demonstrate the feasibility of applying the 5G technology in an overall Logistics context, for optimizing warehousing operations through an integrated state-of-the-art operational system based on Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) as used by Network Application VS1. This system will make use of the 5G-EVE Athens testbed, which will be upgraded to stand-alone and extended at the warehouse premises. The operation of AGVs can be automated and remotely assisted using HD video streaming functionality to enable human interaction (Network Application VS2), while additional AI/ML techniques will be introduced for post-processing operational data in order to improve the end-to-end functionality of the warehouse ecosystem (Network Application VA1).

The use case requires some functionalities that are better provided or only supported by 5G, such as reduced latency, network slicing to support different processes that may present different requirements, and high data rates to support the use of inputs to the guidance process, such as high definition video and/or LIDAR sensors.