5G Use Cases Will Include Drones, Edge Computing
Verizon and the Marine Corps say the experimentation will focus on how 5G can transform communications, energy management, connected vehicles, drones and base security.
“We started a dialogue with Verizon to roll out a 5G living lab on Miramar — to not just have cellular sites, but to really explore these areas of internet-of-things capabilities, 5G-enabled technologies,” Lt. Col. Brandon Newell, director of technology and partnerships for the Marine Corps Installation Next program, tells GCN.
The pilot program will help the Pentagon “better understand the technology, better understand our defense-related applications with that technology and help us on the pathway to requirement development, prototyping and eventually programs,” Newell says.
“In particular, the [Defense Department] must better understand what capabilities can be supported by 4G LTE and what capabilities actually require the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G,” Newell separately tells Nextgov.
According to GCN, the first pilot that is kicking off in September concerns a so-called “digital fortress” use case to test out new smart base security technology that replaces physical fortifications. The base will use its existing wireless for counter-intrusion that includes a suite of sensors.
Three cellular towers on the perimeter of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar’s will be used to support edge computing to “minimize the amount of data required to go back between the different towers and to go back to the cloud,” Newell tells GCN.
“We get to understand how critical computing on the edge is so that you minimize your bandwidth and your data requirements depending on where you are in the world and what type of cellular coverage that you have,” he says.
Another pilot program will explore using 5G to potentially convert autonomous vehicles to connected vehicles, “optimizing the potential of unmanned ground systems for the movement of people and goods,” Newell tells Nextgov. Such experimentation could also improve the security and reliability of drones for delivery and counter-intrusion.
“Because the military has very little history in leveraging cellular technology, it’s critical that we quickly mature our understanding for these energy, connected vehicles, drones, and digital fortress 5G-enabled applications,” Newell tells Nextgov. “Then we will have increased our position of knowledge for effective requirements development in all of these areas.”