6G URLLC+: Unlocking the Factories of the Future and Self-Driving Cars


    Aug 26, 2022

    This is the fourth blog in our 6G White Paper series looking at how technology will continue to evolve as the world adopts 6G networks.

    Check out the other posts in the series here: 6G: The Next Horizon

    In this post, we’ll look at the second usage scenario of 6G: URLLC+.

    URLLC+, an evolution of ultra-reliable low-latency communications found in 5G, is an important concept in 6G because it enables machine-type communication (MTC), a process in which machines communicate wirelessly with one another without needing a human to step in.

    It is also used for new applications enabled by the ubiquitous use of robots, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and new human-machine interfaces (HMIs) in various fields like manufacturing, public service, and autonomous driving.

    Ensuring machines can communicate quickly and reliably sounds great, but what does that really mean for us in the future? Well, it can revolutionize parts of our daily lives, from automating routine work to even automating driving cars for us.

    Factory of the Future

    Factory of the Future is a vision for manufacturers in which assembly lines are fully automated and hugely customizable. 6G is the key to unlocking those doors to the factory and making it a reality.

    In this vision, modules will no longer be tethered by cables and are instead connected to each other through ultra-high-performance radio links. This allows them to freely move around the assembly line, enabling custom assembly lines to be formed instantly.

    AI and digital twin technologies will enable us to collect manufacturing knowledge and experience, and then share them among the machines and robots to further optimize manufacturing.

    6G will also bring numerous other benefits for factories.

    For example, its all-round RF sensing system will enable proactive maintenance of the entire production environment and processes, allowing potential issues to be nipped in the bud before they affect production.

    Because the factory of the future will be fully automated, workers will no longer need to work onsite. Such factories will be capable of lights-out manufacturing, which will lower their OPEX and carbon footprints significantly.

    Wireless Motion Control

    Motion control of machines is one of the most challenging use cases in the automation field. As the core component in machine automation, it needs to precisely control every aspect of a machine’s movement.

    While this is already possible in manufacturing today, it is implemented via wired technologies such as industrial Ethernet. But, being tethered by wires limits the freedom of movement.

    To achieve a truly flexible production line, communication with machines needs to go wireless. This is where 6G comes in. Featuring over 99.9999% ultra-reliable and sub-ms or even µs low-latency communication, 6G will allow motion control to be done wirelessly with extreme precision and reliability, enabling unparalleled flexibility for the factories of the future.


    Robots are already being utilized to work together and with humans in the manufacturing industry. These collaborative robots are called cobots and represents a huge step forward from traditional robots that work in separate and limited areas. Like co-workers, cobots are expected to be intelligent and reliable so that they can understand the dynamic environment and tasks, pay attention to human safety, and respond to risks proactively.

    In the factory of the future, robots will take care of most of the major work, allowing workers to focus on other important tasks.

    Many types of robots — like automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and drones — will take over transporting raw materials, spares, and accessories from the warehouse to the production line. Cobots will be utilized to transport large or heavy objects.

    For these cobots to work together safely and efficiently, a cyber-physical control application will be used to control and coordinate their movements. For example, to transport rigid or fragile objects, precise coordination is needed; but for flexible or elastic objects, the requirements are not so strict, making their transportation more efficient.

    To maintain the accuracy needed for complex collaborative work, we need to leverage 6G’s synchronization, latency, and localization accuracy capabilities.


    Cyborgs — a concept that has been around since the 1960s — are the next evolutionary step from cobots. Cybernetic organisms can be used to enhance a human’s physical or sensory abilities, or even help overcome physical disabilities. With the development of neuroscience, 6G will take us closer to making cyborgs a reality.

    Self-driving Vehicles

    Now we come to the most challenging use case of smart transportation. Initial autonomous vehicles, which are typically used in working environments like mining, quarrying, construction, and agriculture, need humans to drive and operate remotely.


    Level 5 autonomous vehicles, however, will revolutionize driving. Because the car will do all the driving and route planning for you, you can sit back and have a comfortable journey within the privacy of your own car.

    So that the car can handle unexpected situation, 6G’s sensing and AI capabilities as well as the ultra-low latency, high reliability, and precise localization needed for cobots, will be necessary here as well.

    Wrapping Up

    Ensuring fast and reliable communication is critical in things like motion control and self-driving vehicles. Delayed or unreliable communication could be catastrophic, potentially endangering safety. This is why URRLC+ is such an important part of 6G.

    In the next post, we’ll be exploring another usage scenario of 6G — mMTC+

    Subscribe to this blog to keep pace with this series on 6G – as well as the latest tech – and download the white paper: 6G: The Next Horizon – From Connected Things to Connected Intelligence.

    Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.


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