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According to the DFKI, however, there are a number of technical challenges to overcome before 5G and AI create a successful universal communication platform for flexible industry and the networked world - challenges it is looking to meet with its wide-ranging expertise in many different research activities, and also with ground-breaking projects and initiatives. Professor Hans Dieter Schotten, Scientific Director of the Intelligent Networks Research Group and Chair for Radio Communication and Navigation at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern (TUK), describes the potential of these two key technologies as follows: "5G provides AI systems with the necessary data in real time. AI, in turn, uses that data to control and optimize the network. The combined advantages of these technologies will enable completely new use cases in many areas."

Industry 4.0 in particular is set to benefit from this new synergy in the digital age. "The factory of tomorrow is flexible and networked. Workplaces of the future will be self-organizing, so to speak," predicts Professor Martin Ruskowski. As head of Innovative Factory Systems research at the DFKI and Chairman of the Board of the SmartFactory-KL e. V. technology initiative, he is certain these technologies harbor considerable potential. "More and more machines, devices and services are becoming part of the production network. The traditional communication structures are fading out, shifting more and more to a virtual environment," he adds. When combined with AI, 5G wireless technology can create entirely new manufacturing methods by enabling seamless integration between autonomous systems and mobile platforms without any cable connections. As Professor Ruskowski explains: "Real-time-capable communication is a success factor for Industry 4.0. 5G will significantly improve the flexibility, variability and productivity of industrial manufacturing. We have a unique environment at SmartFactory-KL that allows us to test relevant use cases, to develop new concepts and to transfer these into practical applications." 5G solutions tested here have been showcased at HANNOVER MESSE since 2018. At last year's fair, the DFKI demonstrated initial 5G applications in the Industry 4.0 context as a founding member of the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA). Further 5G development milestones for industry are in the line-up for HANNOVER MESSE 2020, including the pioneering 5G projects SELFNET and TACNET 4.0.