As the European 6G bureaucracy creaks into gear, US tech R&D company InterDigital has been awarded funding to support several of its projects.

It can be tricky to stay on top of the various 6G-related initiatives knocking about Europe at the moment. Many involve public money at the national level but it was inevitable that the EU would want some of that action, manifested under the catchily-named Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking, which announced it had identified 35 projects deemed worthy of Euro-cash last month.

Since InterDigital is one of the best known mobile technology research and development specialists, it’s not great surprise to see it involved, despite its non-Europeanness. Being invited to contribute to no less than five projects was considered a achievement worthy of a special announcement, which also gives us a sense of the sort of thing Europe considers to be worthy components of the next generation of mobile tech.

“We are honoured to be awarded five Horizon Europe 6G flagship projects to help shape the 6G vision,” said Interdigital CTO Rajesh Pankaj. “Being selected for each of these unique projects will enable us to leverage our research heritage and expertise that will shape 6G development in Europe through the future.

“A competitive research environment helps drive our industry forward by pushing the limits of what is possible in the wireless technology landscape. These awards demonstrate InterDigital’s continuous contributions to the European wireless research and innovation ecosystem, as we build upon a strong record of engagement in the Horizon 2020 5G public-private partnership program.”

Here’s a summary of the projects in question:

CENTRIC project targets the development of radio access technologies towards fulfilling the ultimate vision of a 6G user centric Artificial Intelligence (AI) native air interface.

PREDICT-6G project focuses on laying the foundations of an AI-powered Digital Twin framework to predict the behavior of the end-to-end 6G network and using this framework to enhance the reliability and time sensitivity of the network.

6G-SHINE project in turn focuses on the design of short-range communication protocols that can meet the extreme bandwidth, latency and energy requirements emerging for 6G.

6G-XR project targets the development of an experimental research infrastructure to evaluate and validate the performance of key 6G candidate technologies, components, and architectures, with focus on enabling next generation Extended Reality (XR) services.

6G-BRICKS project focuses on setting up an experimental research facility to evaluate two key 6G candidate technologies, namely Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RIS) and cell-free massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO).

Reading between the lines 6G seems to be shaping up to be another example of the even numbered generation refining what was started by the previous one. 4G brought us proper mobile broadband and 6G could be the generation that brings us full automation as well as supporting utopian use-cases such as the metaverse. Let’s see.

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