NEC, KDDI and Obayashi to trial 5G for remote construction applications

remote construction
Image credit: Athi Aachawaradt /

NEC announced plans to conduct a trial of remote construction technologies with KDDI and Obayashi, with the aim of enabling “smart civil engineering” utilizing 5G.

The trial aims to verify the improved workability and quality of remote construction by applying the large-capacity, low-latency communication featured in 5G to construction machinery, thereby enabling the transmission of high-definition video that is difficult to achieve with existing mobile networks.

The companies will combine 5G wireless infrastructure with an existing remote control system for construction machinery. In the experiment, video taken by multiple units of high-definition 4K cameras mounted in construction machinery will be transmitted to the remote controller via 5G utilizing beamforming via a multi-element antenna using the 28-GHz band.

“The multi-element antenna system and its control technology, which are currently undergoing research and development at NEC, are essential for implementing large-capacity, low-latency 5G,” said Tomonori Kumagai, GM of NEC’s Business Development division.

5G’s ability to support low-latency HD video should allow workers to gain an accurate impression of a situation via HD video from remotely located construction machinery. The three companies will also attempt to verify advances in construction quality and efficiency through improved remote control workability, such as real-time changes in the position and direction of construction machinery.

“The introduction of robotics to the construction field, including remote-control capabilities, is making substantial progress,” said Hideo Katsumata, Executive Officer and General Manager of Obayashi’s Technical Research Institute. “We believe that the 5G communication technology opens the possibility of greatly advancing the operation of construction robots. Going forward, we will continue to promote research and development in 5G-enabled, remotely controlled robots that can be utilized for a wide range of construction purposes.”

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