AT&T and The Texas A&M University System's RELLIS Campus will open private 5G testbeds this fall to public and private sector organizations to develop and innovate with 5G powered applications and solutions.
The addition of AT&T's 5G network, with its combination of lower latency, massive connectivity and fast speeds, is expected to power a wide range of innovations benefiting defense, commercial enterprises, and society at large. Commercial customers will have a chance to access the testbeds to explore autonomous and connected vehicles, robotics, roadside safety and physical security, large-scale infrastructure, autonomous agriculture, Internet of Things, and smart cities/campuses among many other predicted use cases.
"This new 5G testbed will be one of the most advanced university based 5G testbeds in the country. Bringing together the private and public sectors, the RELLIS 5G testbeds can test 5G technologies at scale utilizing both on road and off-road terrains through 5G mmWave and Sub-6 frequencies," said Brad Hoover, Chief Information Officer for The RELLIS Campus. "These testbeds are being set up to test new approaches to augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles or any number of use cases as well as those that have yet to be imagined."
With the addition of 5G, the RELLIS Campus will be home to one of the large-scale testing and evaluation sites for five of the Department of Defense's 11 modernization priorities: hypersonics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, cyber security, and directed energy.
Texas A&M System state agencies – Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) will be the first organizations to use the testbeds. Funding for 5G capability to equip an Innovation Proving Ground (IPG) as part of the Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) was appropriated to TEES by the 2019 Texas Legislature. Some of the planned use-cases include:
- Autonomous Vehicles and Roadside Safety – Research in this area will have direct impacts in a variety of fields, including ground and aviation transportation. Researchers will test the use of smart intersection grids that allow sensors and human factors for decision-making on the road; precision navigation so a vehicle knows its surroundings for safe operations; and precision agriculture to help farmers determine when and how to fertilize, plant, and harvest.
- Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) – Researchers will focus on the military and manufacturing fields. Within military training environments, AR/VR is expected to be used to deliver timely and efficient information to soldiers in real-time environments and in training areas. In manufacturing, researchers will explore how a machine works with AR for efficient learning and problem diagnosing.
- Robotics – Robotic applications continue to grow in the consumer, manufacturing and healthcare industries. Use cases will focus on how robots function in daily life with physical barriers, such as doors and stairs, and in human interactions. Within healthcare, researchers will examine how to improve access to quality healthcare and surgery in rural areas or other countries.
Within the 5G testbeds, Texas A&M will also conduct proactive and reactive cybersecurity testing to identify vulnerabilities and to help secure and protect data against outside threats.
"Because RELLIS will soon have 5G capabilities that cover such a large portion of this campus, RELLIS can provide opportunities to complete testing and evaluation across all of those domains in a protected environment," said Kelly Templin, Director of the RELLIS Campus. "For a company looking to become a research partner, RELLIS is very much the gateway to all of this and everything else the Texas A&M System has to offer."
The RELLIS Campus is 2,000-plus acres that is home to several Texas A&M System research facilities, a testing and evaluation site for the George H. W. Bush Combat Development Complex, as well as facilities for everything from workforce training to four-year university degrees.
"The 5G testbeds at RELLIS are yet another opportunity for our customers to explore the potential that AT&T 5G can bring to help revolutionize the future of multiple industries," said Jason Porter, President of AT&T Public Sector and FirstNet. "Their capabilities to bring to life innovative 5G solutions and applications are transformative. We expect AT&T 5G – one of the outcomes of our investment of more than $110 billion in our wireless and wireline networks from 2016 to 2020 – will help power the future of defense, government, commercial industry and society."