Remote controlled firefighting tank leads AU$20 million in 5G grants

19 projects funded in an effort to build out a 5G ecosystem in Australia.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

One of Rheinmetall's autonomous vehicles.

Image: Rheinmetall

The Australian government announced on Sunday it was helping fund 19 5G projects around Australia to the tune of AU$20 million.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia led the way, gaining almost AU$1.5 million for a 5G remote-controlled firefighting tank.

"Rheinmetall is developing an autonomous/remote control 'Firefighting Tank' (called the Fire Tank), which is a purpose-built firefighting vehicle capable of traversing extremely dangerous terrains to support rescue, path clearing and firefighting missions," the government described.

"This project will investigate using low-band 5G to support long-range remote control of these vehicles. The project is focused on investigating the feasibility of this technology and development of a drone-based 5G range extension capability."

Walking away with AU$2 million was Qube for the Moorebank Logistics Park intermodal rail terminal, which will involve moving containers from Port Botany to warehouses.

"This project will install 5G communications to link automated vehicles to the central fleet management and safety system with the low latency and high reliability of 5G used to create safe, reliable operations. The project will evaluate the performance and benefits of 5G and automated transport systems," the government said.

Nokia, meanwhile, has gained AU$1.9 million to build a National 5G Industrial Incubation Lab with the South Australian government, and will focus on using big data, cameras, and analytics applied rail corridor safety, using HoloLens and camera for airport safety, and "power over-voltage management in a power network via distributed edge compute via 5G connectivity".

Working alongside Endeavour Energy and AWS, Optus gained AU$650,000 to use drones to monitor electrical transmission infrastructure.

TPG Telecom was awarded AU$1.45 million for a project to count sheep at the Bendigo Regional Livestock Exchange.

"The project will use 5G to enable multiple high quality 4K video streams to count sheep at a regional livestock exchange, automating the process and removing human error," the government said.

"A supporting 5G edge network will process the counting on site and relay the data in real time back to farmers on a tablet or mobile device."

In a similar vein, Australian Meat Processor Corporation will use 5G, machine learning, and cameras to augment human inspection of meat.

"This is a critical technology and these projects will help Australians realise the benefits of 5G sooner," Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said.

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