DCMS blog

5G will boost the ‘builders’ of Britain

5G robots and driverless vehicles are providing a glimpse into the future of our manufacturing and construction industries, and the UK is leading the way to make them a reality.

5G is changing the way Britain builds. From the growing army of robots building products on factory floors to the drones and virtual reality tech transforming the construction site, the ultrafast speeds 5G offers has sparked a wave of innovation across Britain.

We in government are proud to be backing this tech revolution. Our innovative 5G Testbeds and Trials programme is developing new uses for the technology to help us build back better from the pandemic – including several cutting-edge construction and manufacturing projects.

These projects are largely exploring the use of ‘off-grid’ private 5G networks made up of small radio towers covering large workplaces – such as a factory or building sites. We’re investing to explore how this new frontier in telecoms could benefit these industries.

Exploring use of private 5G networks

Colourful beam lights are shooting off from the earth's atmosphere

For instance, we’ve set up a private 5G network at Ford’s car manufacturing site in Dunton, Bedfordshire, to boost the performance of its laser-welding robots used to make electric car components. The 5GEM project is also trialling a complex web of 5G sensors to allow engineers to monitor and control the production line with minute precision.

We’re also working with Nissan to trial 5G-connected 40-tonne driverless trucks. They are being used to raise efficiency and improve safety when shifting parts and assemblies across its sprawling car manufacturing plant in Sunderland.

In Scotland, we’ve teamed up with BAM Nuttall to test how drones, virtual reality and cameras could let construction managers check progress and make decisions without needing to be physically on site, helping to speed up delivery and drive down costs.

These trials are giving us a glimpse into the future of manufacturing, construction, and other important industries. I’m confident our £200 million investment in these innovative projects will spark a tech and productivity revolution that will power our efforts to level up the nation.