The Australian government is set to spend $20 million funding 19 different 5G projects across the country, including a remote-controlled firefighting tank that is set to be a game changer during bushfire season.
The firefighting tank, developed by Rheinmetall Defence Australia, secured $1.5 million of the funding that was announced on Sunday.
“Rheinmetall is developing an autonomous/remote control ‘Firefighting Tank’ (called the Fire Tank), which is a purpose-built firefighting vehicle capable of traversing extremely dangerous terrains to support rescue, path clearing and firefighting missions,” the government said of the project.
“This project will investigate using low-band 5G to support long-range remote control of these vehicles. The project is focused on investigating the feasibility of this technology and development of a drone-based 5G range extension capability.”
As we know all too well now thanks to the recent IPCC report that stressed the urgency of climate action, the planet is warming at an alarmingly rapid rate. Unfortunately, this means our bushfire seasons are likely to be longer, more extreme and more dangerous year-on-year.
Thankfully, with the new Rheinmetall Defence Australia technology, we will hopefully be able to fight the worst of these fires without risking the lives of our largely volunteer fire-fighting service.
Obviously, this doesn’t completely negate the risk for those who spend their summers keeping us all safe, and we should still be prioritising climate action and strategies to avoid these massive bushfires, but it’s absolutely a step in the right direction.
Other companies such as Nokia and TPG Telcom were also awarded significant sums as part of the 5G funding.
Nokia is set to use its $1.9 million worth of funding to build a National 5G Industrial Incubation Lab in South Australia, while TPG Telcom’s $1.45 million will be used to count sheep.
“The project will use 5G to enable multiple high quality 4K video streams to count sheep at a regional livestock exchange, automating the process and removing human error,” the government said.
“A supporting 5G edge network will process the counting on site and relay the data in real time back to farmers on a tablet or mobile device.”
Overall, the funding is designed to help maximise the benefits of 5G technology in Australia across the board.
“This is a critical technology and these projects will help Australians realise the benefits of 5G sooner,” Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said.