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For Robotics: 6G Lab Explores Extremely Fast Wireless Connections

Innovation, Mobilität, Research, Robotics |

Fast wireless connections are the foundation for streaming movies and communicating seamlessly. Above all, they secure many applications in human-robot communication. In the 6G Lab at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), led by the dedicated professors Eckehard Steinbach and Wolfgang Kellerer, research is conducted on 6G communication.

The doctoral student Dong Yang from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) remotely manipulates a vial using a haptic interface. Image: Andreas Schmitz / TUM.

Even the names of the most important research projects are clear: 6G Future Lab Bavaria, 6G-life, and KI.Fabrik all include components required for tomorrow's communication. On the one hand, daily life is hardly imaginable without fast wireless connections and high data transfer rates. However, when combined with machines and (AI-assisted) robots deployed in factories or alongside humans, a stable and fast network is even critical for safety. It's clear that 6G will be a prerequisite for many applications in the future.

The Telepresence Robot: The Jewel of the 6G Lab

Up to 25 researchers are working in TUM's 6G Lab to "bring together research on communication with robot control," as explained by Wolfgang Kellerer. With a delay of just ten milliseconds, the "telepresence robot" can be instantly controlled using a so-called haptic interface. "This is necessary," says Stefan Hägele, who, along with Dong Yang, researches how to "reduce latencies and further increase data rates." The one-and-a-half-meter-tall, hefty robot is the jewel of the 6G Lab on Arcisstrasse. It receives instructions from Dong Yang via wireless transmission through two small wings (antennas) attached to its head. The "eyes" look like high-quality binoculars, housing wide-angle cameras designed to ensure precise gripping of its two arms.

KI.Fabrik, 6G Future Lab Bavaria, and 6G-life: 6G Lab Engaged in Important Research Projects

In KI.Fabrik, the goal is to transform production halls into scalable and flexible manufactories. Self-learning robots, digital twins, and artificial intelligence play key roles in this high-tech project running until 2030. Robots are used, among other things, to communicate with experts via teleoperation. Prerequisite: 5G, preferably 6G. More Information 

In 6G Future Lab Bavaria, the focus is on "exploring novel and fundamental mechanisms for 6G." Practically, this means increasing the speed of wireless data transmission to up to 400 gigabytes. For comparison, ordinary VDSL connections reach up to 300 megabytes, and fiber optic cables typically reach one gigabyte. Additionally, Kellerer emphasizes that the reliability of data transmission must be at 99.999999999 percent. The background is simple: scenarios like autonomous driving must be secure. If there are interruptions, accidents can occur. Many processes in production are also safety-critical. The research project runs initially until April 2024. Additional Information 

In the research project 6G-life, the focus is particularly on human-machine communication. The goal is not only to advance communication via 6G but also to launch ten startups in the first few years that develop marketable solutions - and thus practical solutions for daily life. The research project, in collaboration with the Technical University of Dresden, runs until August 2025.  More Information

Further Information:

The current 6G research builds on long-standing developments in the field of 5G communication, see here

In Faszination Forschung, author Brigitte Röthlein delves into the 6G Future Lab Bavaria. This is in reference to the Faszination Forschung 29/23 (pages 46 ff.)