Two years of pioneering work by Birmingham City University to introduce cutting edge digital technology into Sherwood Forest has been recognised by the government.
The 5G Connected Forest (5GCF) project, led by Nottinghamshire County Council and delivered by University computer, data, network and AI scientists alongside industry partners, saw Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and ground-breaking robotics – including a forest ranger dog called Gizmo – at work in the famous ancient woodland.
At the recent UK5G Showcase 2022 event, the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and UK5G celebrated the achievements and outcomes of the £800m UK 5G Testbeds & Trials programme, of which the 5GCF project was part.
Minister of State for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez commented: “The UK is going to be spending £250million over the next 3 years on diversification, focusing on security and switching off 2G and 3G to make it easier to innovate. We are taking a real-world lead. The UK’s Telecommunications Network Industry is placing emphasis on collaboration with up to £100million from the government building on the terrific work of projects such as 5G Connected Forest, Future Ran and Sonic Lab.”
The work by Birmingham City University’s Cyber-Physical Systems research group, in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, saw the integration of state-of-the-art technology in high end robotic systems, using a suite of high-definition cameras, laser sensors and wireless 5G connectivity to create new environmental management systems around important forests.
Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “It’s fantastic to see Birmingham City University’s 5G research and Knowledge Exchange expertise being recognised across the UK’s telecommunications sector.
“Investing in research that couples 5G with training programmes for the next generation and building a diverse engineering base future proofs our economy. We look forward to seeing how we can support DCMS in building digital infrastructure innovations in the context of net zero. The 5G Connected Forest project in many ways pioneers this ambition.”