LIVE FROM SAMSUNG 6G FORUM: Jeffrey Andrews, professor at the University of Texas at Austin and director of its 6G programme, argued situational awareness will be key to defining aspects of many of the technology’s applications, in addition to high data rates and connectivity.

In a presentation, Andrews (pictured, left) noted emerging 5G applications including autonomous vehicles and robots require situational awareness going beyond what they can sense alone.

“Although driverless cars are built to be autonomous, they don’t really work right unless they can see things and know about things outside of their own field of vision. Otherwise, they’ll have to drive too slowly, too conservatively.”

Andrews said the push behind 6G is driven by increasingly data-hungry use cases, citing projections mobile network traffic will increase by up to 50-times by 2030.

He highlighted cost control as another major research theme, noting denser base station deployments would likely require an unprecedented amount of sharing and cooperation, and reuse of infrastructure across different operators.

Andrews cautioned it could be hard to squeeze out better performance in many areas of 6G than current 5G networks, noting the latter technology’s physical layer was developed over decades and the industry was already at an advanced stage on theoretical and implementation pathways.

Andrews believes machine learning will boost site-specific learning and design, with much of his research focused on improving beam management.

He noted deep learning is a powerful tool for wireless development, but it’s not a panacea, adding learning when and how to use it is a major research challenge for the next decade.