The 2nd General Assembly of the Zero-SWARM Project took place at the Berlin-based Fraunhofer Institutes, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI), and the Fraunhofer Institutes FOKUS from January 30th to February 2nd, 2023. The entire Zero-SWARM consortium, comprised of academic and industry partners, as well as the Project Coordinator and Technical Manager, participated in the session to review the actions carried out and define the next steps to achieve the project’s goals.

During the assembly, the action plan to address all technical activities and trials of the project was carefully discussed, achieving an excellent agreement between each partner member of the consortium. Additionally, Zero-SWARM partners visited the Berlin-based Fraunhofer Institutes’ real-time 5G communications infrastructure, which has been put into operation by the Fraunhofer HHI, Fraunhofer FOKUS, and IPK. This infrastructure serves as a test environment for future real-time capable edge cloud applications in Industry 4.0 and will be used to develop network technologies towards 6G.

Germany is a pioneer in the provision of 5G for private use and the establishment of campus networks, which are local and customized 5G mobile communications networks. The 5G communications infrastructure now in operation is intended to further extend this lead. The distributed campus networks use fiber optic connections to link an edge cloud at Fraunhofer HHI with Fraunhofer FOKUS and with an extensive machine park, as well as 5G radio cells at Fraunhofer IPK in real-time. The edge cloud acts as a platform for both the 5G core network and the AI-based software for evaluating sensor data and controlling machines.

All three Berlin sites feature the IEEE Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) standard for wired real-time communication, as well as 5G campus networks. This setup of networked and distributed network infrastructure, including machinery, offers unique conditions for innovative, realistic proof-of-concept demonstrations.

In conclusion, the meeting was not only useful to address the project goals but also to improve the work environment among all project members through friendly social interaction. The Zero-SWARM consortium is making significant progress towards achieving its goals, and the 5G communications infrastructure now in operation will play a vital role in the project’s success.