Ericsson is set to begin a new pilot project that will use 5G technology to improve productivity and safety in the Swedish mining industry.

The new ‘Pilot for Industrial Mobile Communication in Mining’ project is a joint cooperation between Ericsson, ABB, Boliden, SICS Swedish ICT and Volvo Construction Equipment and uses 5G technology for communication and remote control operations.

In the initial stages, a Volvo truck used to transport ore in a mine operated by Boliden will be remotely controlled using a 5G development system comprising new and existing technologies.

The pilot is aimed at finding solutions that can be applied in the mining industry to deal with the dangerous in its operational environment.

Ericsson’s 5G technology can be used to increase productivity and improve safety for mining workers, as it can accommodate the industry’s requirements on latency.

"More connected machines and devices mean fewer people will be required to work underground."

The project is being undertaken as part of the 5G for Sweden programme, which was launched by Ericsson in March 2015.

Ericsson 5G for Sweden programme manager Torbjörn Lundahl said: "The successful implementation of such technology could and should lead to improved safety. More connected machines and devices mean fewer people will be required to work underground.

"The seamless integration of over and underground activities will help improve safety and productivity, as well as enabling better monitoring and remote control."

Ericsson Research vice-president and head Sara Mazur said: "We are eager to research the challenges faced by the mining industry.

"The idea is to identify areas where mining operations can be improved through the use of mobile communication."

Image: Ericsson office in Kista, Sweden. Photo: courtesy of Ericsson.