Using 5G-supported virtual reality (VR), multiple colleagues from different locations could work on a ‘digital twin’ of a physical object simultaneously

UK-based manufacturer Hyperbat, a joint venture between Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart, has today announced a new partnership with the likes of BT, Ericsson, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm, in order to conduct proof-of-concept testing for a 5G VR digital twin solution. 

The concept of a digital twin – a digitally created copy of a physical object – is nothing new, being implemented in various forms by numerous industries around the world. Indeed, the telecoms industry itself often makes use of the concept by building digital twins of their networks and infrastructure, allowing them to more easily manage their physical assets. 

What is new here, however, is the use of 5G-powered virtual reality allowing numerous workers from different locations to work together simultaneously on the same digital object. The engineers will be able to walk around and interact with a life-size 3D model in real-time, wirelessly while connected to the 5G network.

‘‘The solution is mainly targeted at collaborative mobile workforce with the use of 5G native headsets and seamless integration of design and manufacturing systems with the digital twin technologies,” explained Hosein Torabmostaedi, Unipart Manufacturing Digital and Innovation Manager. “Hyperbat also hopes to extend the solution to the use of 5G connectivity for machines to enable configurable and flexible production lines. The solutions will be demonstrated and trialled at Hyperbat’s facility in Coventry, United Kingdom.”

For Hyperbat, who manufacture vehicle batteries, such a solution would allow them to greatly improve the build efficiency within the manufacturing process, as well as solving some of the complexities that occur between product management systems, the supply chain and factory operations.

“The 5G digital twin solution is a powerful reminder that 5G connectivity and Edge Compute is very much here now, delivering real business benefits for our customers,” explained Jeremy Spencer, 5G Innovation Senior Manager at BT’s Enterprise Unit. “We have seen how 5G connectivity combined with the latest technology can produce incredible efficiency gains which are so important in boosting the UK manufacturing sector in a post-Covid recovery era as well as many other industries where collaboration is required.”

The first prototype of the solution should be deployed in May, with the first set of results arriving within two months.


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