The future wireless communication standard 6G will play a central role in the digital transformation. To participate in this transformation at the global level, the BMBF is providing a total of up to 250 million euros in funding for four 6G research hubs. In the 6G-life project, TUM and TUD will work together to shape these future technologies. Around 40 senior researchers at the two Excellence Universities will be involved in the project, which will receive 70 million euros in funding. “With these resources, we will build on the 6G Future Lab Bavaria initiative at TUM, supported by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, and join forces with TUD,” says TUM President Thomas F. Hofmann. “Together we will help to shape the wireless technology of the future.”
Focus on human-machine collaboration
6G technology is centered around people and their communications and interactions with machines and virtual worlds. 6G-life will focus in particular on two application areas already being explored in numerous high-profile projects at TUM: Industry 4.0 and digital medicine. Both are key fields of interest of the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM) at TUM, which will play an integral role in the 6G-life project.
The project will address four key topics: Latency (delay – how can we make communications faster?), resilience (How can we make communications more failsafe?), security (how can we protect privacy and defend against attacks?) and sustainability (how can we substantially reduce the high energy consumption of digital communications?). The requirements of 6G will involve technical challenges that can be solved only with new theoretical approaches. Basic research in such areas as information theory will therefore represent an a vital element of 6G-life.
A contribution to digital sovereignty
There are increasing concerns in Germany and Europe that digital technologies have become overly dependent on foreign companies. 6G-life will therefore play an active role in shaping the digital transformation. The project will develop key technologies and provide research results to be incorporated into global 6G standards in cooperation with technology companies and network operators.
As with all new technologies, 6G raises important questions for our society. Consequently, the project will incorporate contributions from humanities and social sciences in its research to ensure due consideration of ethical questions and concerns.
10 million euros for start-ups
6G-life aims to leverage the innovative power of start-ups, with 10 million euros set aside to support young companies. The goal is to create at least 10 new start-ups in the next four years and to provide support for numerous existing ones. TUM is ideally positioned in that regard: Every year TUM spawns around 80 technology-focused spinouts. TUM and UnternehmerTUM, the Center for Innovation and Start-ups, support start-ups with programs specifically geared to the various phases of creating a new business. The TUM Venture Labs, an initiative for research-based start-ups unique throughout Europe, will play a decisive role for 6G-life. The Venture Labs offer entrepreneurs an extensive ecosystem, including technological infrastructure, training, and high-caliber expertise and support from companies and researchers.