KT and HHI demonstrate their 5G shipyard developments

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KT and HHI demonstrate their 5G shipyard developments

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KT Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu, standing second from right, and HHI CEO Han Young-seok, on his left. [KT, HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRIES]

KT and Hyundai Heavy Industries are joining forces to integrate 5G technology into shipbuilding.

Executives from the companies visited Hyundai’s shipbuilding yard in Ulsan to examine the IT solutions being used in the manufacturing process - from ultra-high-definition surveillance cameras to drones.

Hyundai and KT signed a partnership in May to collaborate on the development of smart-factory technology that utilizes the 5G network. High-speed, low-latency data transmission is essential for smart-factory technology, which requires immediate data transfers in large amounts. The Monday visit was the first occasion for executives of both companies to review the joint project’s progress.

“Shipbuilding is no exception for the fourth industrial revolution. 5G-based smart factories will play a huge role in lifting the shipbuilding industry from recession,” said Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings Chairman Kwon Oh-gap.

The tour started with a demonstration of how KT’s 360-degree wearable neck bands are used in shipbuilding production lines. The neck bands incorporate cameras that shoot in all directions and can air the video live to the central control center. This allows for swift action in case of accidents, instead of requiring staff taking the time to explain the situation through calls.

Wireless 5G connections also allow for surveillance cameras that offer stable video quality. Hyundai attached cameras to cranes and vehicles before, but monitoring was only possible at control centers. With 5G connection, this is possible with smartphones.

Under the project, kiosks connected to the 5G network have been installed at several points. The faster network enabled the downloading of data-heavy 3-D maps in a few minutes. Before the installation, the same task would take more than 20 minutes. “We plan to develop more ways to enhance work efficiency using smart pads,” Hyundai said.

The last destination during the field trip was offshore. In a ship located about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Ulsan, the companies are testing a telecommunications network to optimize communication between the sea and the land. In the past, data analysis had to be done once the ship arrived at port.

According to Hyundai, such improvements can contribute to remotely controlling ships in the future, as well as transferring medicines by drone and even remotely treating patients on ships. In the long run, the partners are considering self-driving smart ships as one possible scenario.

“Hyundai Heavy Industries will take pride in writing a chapter in the realization of the smart factory,” said KT Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu. “Both partners have to create synergy based on their expertise as leaders in respective fields.”

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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