A €14.9m project in Germany is aiming to use the next generation 6G wireless networks as sensors for digital twins.
The KOMSENS-6G project is led by Nokia and aims to drive global pre-standardization activities from a German and European perspective, with a specific focus on the network as a sensor technology.
Over the next three years, a consortium of partners from industry, including competitor Ericsson, start-ups, research institutes and universities aim to develop an architecture for integrated sensing and communication, together with a demonstration of the combined service.
Sensing is a key element of this, using the higher frequencies being considered for 6G, and a sensing service integrated in the wireless network for simultaneous operation with communication services will need to consider how this can be achieved. It will also look at how the sensing can be used for industry 4.0 applications, particularly for building more sophisticated digital twin simulation models.
The project also includes Robert Bosch as the main user and test equipment supplier Rohde & Schwarz as well as RF design houses IMST and GPP Communication alongside national cellular operator Deutsche Telekom. It includes universities at Stuttgart, Dresden, Ilmenau, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Hannover and Aachen as well as the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institut (HHI).
The group will work with other projects and partners on a German platform for 6G technology such as 6G KOM led by Ericsson. This is developing D-band frontend modules at 110GHz to 170GHz with new baseband architectures as well as to investigate novel localization concepts for 6G.
“As wireless communication networks are ubiquitous, a “mirror” or digital twin of the physical world can be created using network sensing,” said Peter Vetter, President of Nokia Bell Labs Core Research.
“By interacting with a digital twin, we could extend our senses to every point the network touches. We believe the sensing network will be a key component of 6G systems of the future, which we want to enable in a secure and privacy preserving way. We are looking forward to working with all consortium members within KOMSENS-6G to deliver the essential solutions to make this happen,” he said.
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