Barkhausen Institut

New 6G White Paper on Localization and Sensing

Our Groupleader of Wireless Connectivity Dr. André Noll Barreto is co-author of a new 6G White Paper on Localization and Sensing.  

What’s this paper all about?

Current wireless communication systems, like 5G networks, were primarily designed for the exchange of data by means of the propagation of electromagnetic waves. However, this same physical phenomenon can be also employed for other purposes, like localization (as in GPS) or sensing (like radar), and this is already done in other systems. Localization, for instance, is already being performed to a certain extent in existing communications systems, but more as a side thought. In wireless communications, we have been observing a constant evolution and we usually have one new generation every 10 years, so that in around 2030 we can expect to have the 6th-generation (6G) coming to the market. For the research community, it means that we are starting now to investigate the technologies that will be available by then. It is envisaged that sensing and localization will be an integral part of the future networks, which will be optimized to allow all three tasks (communications, sensing, localization) in an integrated fashion, and this is what we analyse here.

What exactly have you discovered?

This paper was a joint effort by researchers from several institutes, in which the state-of-the-art, possibilities and challenges of such an integrated approach are discussed. No new facts were discovered, but we intended to shed a light on the research path for the next few years, in which the vision described above will be made possible.

So what?

In 6G sensing and localization information will be widely available anywhere and anytime at low cost. This will support the development and deployment of new technologies, such as autonomous driving, drones flying, robotic collaboration, industrial and agricultural automation, and health monitoring, among others; and we can also expect an improvement in many sensing tasks, like environmental sensing. Also, with the new capabilities, a plethora of new services will certainly be created. This will also raise some privacy and security concerns (which is mentioned in the paper), which have to be considered in the development of the technology.

Where can we read more? de Lima, C., Belot, D., Berkvens, R., Bourdoux, A., Dardari, A., Guillaud, M., Isomursu, M., Lohan, E.-S., Miao, Y., Barreto, A. N., Aziz, M. R. K., Saloranta, J., Sanguanpuak, T., Sarieddeen, H., Seco-Granados, G., Suutala, J., Svensson, T., Valkama, M., Wymeersch, H., & van Liempd, B. (Eds.). (2020). 6G White Paper on Localization and Sensing [White paper]. (6G Research Visions, No. 12). University of Oulu.