ETSI launches group for 6G sensor technology
European standards group ETSI has launched an Industry Specification Group looking at sensor technologies for next generation 6G applications.
The Integrated Sensing and Communications (ISG ISAC) group at ETSI will establish the technical foundations for sensor technology development and standardization in 6G with 87 participants from both industry and academia.
The founding members of the group elected Dr Alain Mourad from InterDigital as Chair of the group, and Dr Ayman Naguib from Apple, Dr Richard Stirling-Gallacher from Huawei, and Prof Henk Wymeersch from Chalmers University as the Vice Chairs.
The group aims to coordinate 6G pre-standard research efforts on ISAC, particularly across various European/National-funded collaborative projects, extended through relevant global initiatives, paving the way for the 6G standardization of the technology.
The ISG targets systematic outputs on ISAC into international standards organizations for 3GPP release 20 and beyond as well as ITU-R IMT-2030.
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The sensor technologies use radio signals to detect and estimate characteristics of target objects in the environment. By integrating sensing into the communications network, the network acts as a “radar” sensor, using its own radio signals to sense and comprehend the physical world in which it operates. This allows the network to collect data on the range, velocity, position, orientation, size, shape, image, materials of objects and devices.
“Integrated Sensing and Communications add a new element of capability to the wireless network, enabling new innovative use cases in transport, urban environments, homes, and factories, ranging from object and intruder detection in predefined secure areas around critical infrastructures to fall detection and rain/pollution monitoring” said Dr. Alain Mourad, Chair of the ISAC ISG.
The sensing data collected and processed by the network can then be leveraged to enhance the network’s own operations, augment existing services such as XR and digital twinning, and enable new services, such as gesture and activity recognition, object detection and tracking, along with imaging and environment reconstruction.
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The ETSI ISAC ISG will prioritize a set of 6G uses and sensing types, along with a roadmap for their analysis and evaluation. It will focus on advanced 6G use cases and sensing types which are not expected to be covered by 3GPP Release 19. These advancements may potentially be included in future 6G releases of 3GPP. The group also aims to develop advanced channel models for ISAC use cases and sensing types, with validation through extensive measurement campaigns, addressing gaps in existing communications-based channel models (e.g., 3GPP, IEEE 802. ITU-R).
The group will look at the architecture and deployment considerations, KPIs, and evaluation assumptions and will also undertake two studies, with a first analysis of the privacy and security aspects associated with sensing data within the ISAC 6G framework, and a second analysis of the impact of widespread deployment of ISAC on the UN sustainable development goals.