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Qualcomm aims for 5G-ready agri-robot in English farmland

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Qualcomm has joined a UK government scheme to test 5G wireless for rural applications, from agriculture and fisheries to tourism and safety.

The £8 million project, 5GRuralDorset in the county of Dorset in south-west England, will use millimetre-wave 5G for robotic farming and other services. The project aims to develop what one member of the team called “the world’s first 5G-ready agri-robot”.

But it has more practical short-term aims. “It will be easier to make the day-to-day decisions instead of having to go field walking,” said Mike Donnachie (pictured), a farm manager in the county.

Wassim Chourbaji, Qualcomm’s SVP of government affairs, said: “5G millimetre-wave not only brings next-level mobile experiences to users, it can also deliver high-capacity wireless broadband access to urban, suburban, and rural settings. 5GRuralDorset will demonstrate how 5G millimetre-wave can bring smart agriculture capabilities to remote farms.” 

Another farm manager, Sam Chambers, said: “What excites me is being able to integrate the different platforms across the agricultural spectrum into one easy data transfer.”

Qualcomm said that the increased capacity offered by high frequency 5G millimetre-wave will let the robots upload in real time the huge amount of data they will be gathering.

The project is part of Qualcomm’s involvement with the UK government’s 5G testbeds and trials programme, being run by its Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Matt Warman, the UK Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: “Alongside the 5G RuralDorset project and backed by our £200 million trials scheme, we will explore innovative uses for 5G millimetre-wave spectrum to revolutionise the agricultural sector.”

Qualcomm is supplying the millimetre-wave modules to the project in order to test their efficacy in 5G connected robotic farming.

5G RuralDorset’s head of security, spectrum and collaboration, Dave Happy, said: “Our state-of-the-art trials aim to produce the world’s first 5G-ready agri-robot.”

 

 

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