Orange Belgium and Dutch counterpart KPN are investigating how 5G technology can accelerate the further digitalisation of the Westerschelde waterway corridor of Belgium and the Netherlands. The ‘5G Estuary’ project is eligible for European Commission subsidies, aiming to ‘define a low-altitude cross-border digital corridor for mobility applications and aviation that will make key nodes in the global supply chain, namely ports and hinterland waterways, more efficient, secure and sustainable.’ 5G-driven applications are envisaged, including: real-time data exchange to and from vehicles and vessels, ports, and the remote control and support of trucks and boats, deployment of autonomous robots, augmented reality, sensors and drone inspections. Alongside improving logistics chain efficiency, goals would include upgrading security of critical infrastructure as well as environmental targets. The Westerschelde is one of the busiest waterways in the world with shipping traffic to the seaports of Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Terneuzen and Vlissingen, accounting for more than 150,000 ships per year.
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