This website uses cookies. If you continue to browse the site, we assume you are fine with how we use cookies on the web. Read More

{ Markettagged:True , MatchedLanguageCode:True }

Transforming industry with 5G cloud robotics

During the Renaissance, Tuscan local Leonardo da Vinci experimented with robotics. Light years ahead of his time, he designed a mechanical lion to impress the King of France. It was a roaring success. Now, the sparks of discovery are flying again, with new innovations emerging from the region – welcome to the robotics renaissance.

Tuscany is home to a thriving robotics industry and in partnership with Ericsson, The BioRobotics Institute and Zucchetti Centro Sistemi are leading the way. The former – part of Pisa’s university Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna – is a research center investigating different applications for robotics and bioengineering. The latter was established in 1985 as a software house, before focusing on robotics and industrial automation systems in the 2000s.

“I firmly believe that Italy is a nation that welcomes new technologies”, says Fabrizio Bernini, CEO of Zucchetti Centro Sistemi. “Robotics, even now in its infancy, has an important value within society and Italians are already beginning to feel it.”

The robotics renaissance - infograph


Intelligent care assistance, immersive experience, robot co-workers and connected agrirobot – our industry-collaboration innovation projects will shape the future we live in. Watch our online event, an event in connection with the Nobel Prize Dialogue.

Watch it here

Revolutionizing robotics

The collaboration fuses Ericsson’s cloud and communications knowledge, with Zucchetti Centro Sistemi and The BioRobotics Institute’s in depth understanding of robotic systems.

By combining their expertise, the partners aim to develop robots for industrial applications that can be controlled from anywhere in the world and navigate by themselves. These ‘smarter’ robots would be able to interact with their environment in a human-like manner, identifying obstacles and working out how to avoid them in real-time.

To make this possible, the controlling functionality (or the brains) of the robots has to be moved to the cloud, in order to utilize its massive computing power. This requires the development of an innovative system architecture, which allows the robots to ‘talk’ to the cloud, via Ericsson’s network infrastructure. 
5G is central to the project. In order for the robots to be able to interact with their environment in real-time, huge amounts of information will have to be transferred instantaneously. With lower latency and higher bandwidth than other forms of wireless connectivity, 5G is the optimal choice.

Connected industry agriculture

The future of robotics; smart manufacturing

The benefits of the technology are extensive. Smarter robots can carry out a greater number of tasks in the manufacturing process, allowing their human counterparts to be employed in other areas. This enhances safety – particularly where dangerous chemicals are involved.

Perhaps most significantly, however, smarter robots enable increased industrial automation, both in manufacturing and agriculture. Also known as ‘smart manufacturing’, the majority of production processes could be remotely controlled and monitored in the cloud, minimizing the need for plant infrastructure and dramatically reducing costs.

Wirelessly connecting machines and sensors allows industries to use the data collected to monitor, analyze and predict. The result is optimized processes and increased efficiency, making it possible to effectively implement just-in-time production and lean manufacturing.

This enhanced awareness and control of processes also offers environmental benefits. Resources – such as water in agriculture – can be used more efficiently, and energy consumption can be reduced. The partners are also investigating how solar power can be harnessed by industries to power automated processes.

From the field to the factory, applications for cloud robotics can be found in a wide range of industries. And with the partnership’s research breaking new ground, the possibilities for the future are hugely exciting. Proof of concept for the technology has already been shown at MWC2016 and in the RNEA (Region North East Asia) roadshow in several Asian countries – a first for the field.

Two things remain certain: the Tuscan region will continue to be at the heart of European innovation and the robotics renaissance will change the ways industries operate.

Focus on

Changing the face of cloud robotics

In recent years, robots have become increasingly advanced. And as a result, they have made the move from a concept in the research lab, to an innovative way to optimize processes in sectors including manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare. However, the emerging field of cloud robotics is still in its infancy.

The challenge posed by these ‘smarter’ robots is that they require a massive amount of intelligence to function correctly. This results in complex and costly control systems, which is slowing uptake amongst industries. Cloud robotics aims to address this issue by moving the intelligence of the robot to the cloud, in order to take advantage of its massive computing power. In turn this allows the robots on the ground to be simplified, making them easier to use and more effective.

Today’s cloud robots are able to interact with their environment and respond in real-time in a way that has never been seen before. But to do this successfully, there needs to be a super-fast connection between the robot and the cloud. Robots have been developed using a 4G wireless connection. However, the low latency and high bandwidth of 5G stretches the boundaries of what is possible; and it is these possibilities that Ericsson, Zucchetti Centro Sistemi and The BioRobotics Institute are exploring.

The partners combined knowledge of mobile and fixed networks, data processing, data analytics and robotics, as well as Ericsson’s capability of working in synergy with top academic and industrial partners, is resulting in innovative discoveries that are changing the face of cloud robotics.

Explore our other industry collaborations

A healing hand – King’s College London and Ericsson

We are collaborating with Dr Prokar Dasgupta, a professor and surgeon at King's College London Hospital to explore how the tactile internet can provide patients around the world with access to remote medical specialists. Learn more about this case here.

Child looking at tablet

We are working with King's College London and Jason Williams at Rooplay to unlock education by making gaming more immersive with cutting-edge 5G technology. Learn more about this case here.

crowd in a stadium

Together with artist, writer and philosopher Ali Hossaini, we are working to discover how 5G can transform the arts and impact sensory experiences, bringing cultural events to new audiences around the world. Learn more about this case here.

person playing piano

The Internet of Skills can enable anyone to become an expert. Together with Dr Mischa Dohler, Chair Professor in Wireless Communications at King's College London, we are learning how to transfer human knowledge remotely. Learn more about this case here.

safety and security

By harnessing 5G technology, Ericsson and Boliden are boosting reliable communications in mines to improve productivity and safety. Learn more about this case here.

Speeding truck on the road

Join Ericsson, Scania and the Royal Institute of Technology as they accelerate autonomous, connected transportation fueled by 5G. Learn more about this case here.

Drone flying

Ericsson and ABB are engineering robot remote control with haptics, enabling us to realistically 'touch' the virtual world for the first time. Learn more about this case here.

man cutting trees

Ericsson, Cramo and Husqvarna have created a pioneering proof of concept for process automation, transforming the tool rental business. Learn more about this case here.


SKF, Chalmers University of Technology and Ericsson are launching the next Industrial Revolution, with the help of 5G and the Industrial Internet of Things. Learn more about this case here.

man looking at a tablet

Ericsson is partnering with AstraZeneca, WND and China Mobile to enhance healthcare services in China through collaboration and the Internet of Things.Learn more about this case here.

Sport teams in a stadium

We are capturing and controlling data, as well as producing powerful data visualization, to give unprecedented insight into scouting, player health, scheduling, and so much more. Learn more about this case here.

people taking photo on a bridge

We are connecting people, objects and the cloud to optimize processes, enhance safety and reduce costs in services enabled by 5G projects. Learn more about this case here.

robot in a kitchen

In collaboration with the BioRobotics Institute and Zucchetti Centro Sistemi, Ericsson is exploring innovative uses for 5G cloud robotics. Learn more about this case here.


Discover how Ericsson, CNIT and the Port of Livorno are considering ways to transform seaport communications by developing a connected port. Learn more about this case here.

factory line

Two Tuscany-based companies are combining their research efforts with Ericsson to transform healthcare treatments and improve the lives of patients around the world. Learn more about this case here.

scooters in a manufacturing unit

In collaboration with Ericsson, Tuscan company Piaggio is using 5G technology to put Italy at the forefront of the transportation sector once again. Learn more about this case here.


Ericsson factories in Sweden, Estonia and China are fast-tracking the introduction of a new generation smart manufacturing. Learn more about these cases here