Connected Robotics Platform (CROP) - An Enhanced 5G/6G Experimental Environment for Robots

Enabling a scalable network solution which is fully optimised for verticals is an essential challenge to the future of 5G/6G experimental environments. The Connected Robotics Platform – CROP developed by the 5G-ERA project addresses the challenge by truly extending the concepts of network softwarization and the virtualization into robot deployment processes. In particular, it ensures intelligent robot deployment in dynamic and unstructured network environments which is not feasible for existing Robot Operating System (ROS); at the same time still guarantees a high degree of flexibility and reconfigurability of the network.

CROP assures Virtualise Network Functions (VNF) are fully aligned with targeted vertical requirements. Networks are dynamically instantiated according to vertical demands through orchestration under Platform as a Service (PaaS). 

Figure 1: Align 5G/6G infrastructure into vertical requirements via two layers of virtual networks

By demonstrating a fully software-controlled instantiation of virtual networks meeting the requirements of the vertical sectors such as PPDR/Health Care (5G-ERA UC1), Semi-autonomous transport (5G-ERA UC2), and manufacturing (5G-ERA UC3), the project demonstrates an operational 5G infrastructures can host the various vertical sectors, and satisfy their competing and opposing requirements. 

Figure 2: Flexible deployment of robots in real world settings
Figure 3: Quality aware vertical applications to maximise QoE of the networks

Furthermore, by enhancing the deployment of existing ROS applications over dynamic and unstructured networks, in particular addressing limitation of ROS over 1) multi-domain and multi-administration environments; 2) security required by production; and 3) life cycle and resource management, the project accelerates the acceptance of the 5G technologies to the targeted vertical sectors.