6G-NTN has identified seven use cases that show the application of 6G NTN technology in various market segments. Automotive, Public Safety & Defense, Maritime, railway and road transportation, Aeronautics & Drones, Media & Entertainment, and Utilities/Energy/IoT are among the markets addressed.
USE CASE #1
Maritime coverage for search and rescue coast guard intervention
The ability of the Search and Rescue (SAR) teams to act quickly in time of distress has continuously improved. The primary goals of Search and Rescue technologies are to warn of and locate those in need so that the SAR team can concentrate on their “Rescue” role. For the SAR team to respond quickly and effectively in an emergency, having a dependable means of communication is essential.
Use case #1 focuses on the benefits that the combination of TN and NTN’s communication capabilities can provide in maritime emergencies, where it is essential for all stakeholders such as coast guards, militaries, and civil protection agencies, to coordinate their efforts. The following scenarios are addressed:
- Coast Guard intervention with terrestrial coverage
- Coast Guard intervention without TN coverage and with only NTN coverage
- Coast Guard intervention with multi-link support for reliable roaming
- Coast Guard intervention with seamless handover to different feeder links for NTN network connection
USE CASE #2
Autonomous power line inspection using drones
Many businesses now use aerial drones as a necessary tool when inspecting infrastructure, monitoring industrial sites, or creating 3D models for digital twins. The growth of this new market is, however, being constrained by the limitations of the connectivity services currently offered to provide a seamless connection, using both terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks, for drones operating in remote locations.
Use case #2 illustrates the related challenges bringing the example of long-range power line inspection. However, it could be easily applied to other verticals, such as oil and gas for pipeline inspection, or railways and road transportation for infrastructure inspection. The following scenarios are addressed:
- Routine autonomous inspection
- Manual inspection
USE CASE #3
Urban air mobility
Urban Air Mobility envisions the delivery of goods to individuals, businesses, and emergency situations as well as on-demand, highly automated passenger transportation in the future. This promises faster and more sustainable low-emission journeys, smarter use of urban infrastructure, and reduced congestion within cities.
Use case #3 concerns drone management over some airspace volume rather than high-performance data transmission like in the previous scenarios. While 5G and even 4G terrestrial networks can already support some of the related services, only a multi-layer, fully integrated 6G-NTN architecture will be able to meet the upcoming challenges associated with the development of Urban Air Mobility. This use case addresses three scenarios:
- On-demand creation of aerial corridors for last-mile delivery (pre-flight service)
- Anti-collision and autonomous deconfliction (in-flight service)
- Emergency situation management (in-flight service)
USE CASE #4
Adaptation to public protection and disaster relief or temporary events
In order to respond to Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) events as well as temporary events, where user traffic demand is expected to soar and exceed the capacity provided by the default terrestrial infrastructure, 6G NTN offers the opportunity to revise how organizations from the Public Safety and various other verticals provision their network connectivity to ensure reliable and efficient communications anywhere at any time.
Use case #4 focuses on scenarios where an efficient combination of TN and NTN is required, both when TN is partially or fully unavailable and when it is progressively restored, in particular:
- Support first responder’s communications
- Support the greater public communications
USE CASE #5
Consumer handheld connectivity and positioning in remote areas
Direct-to-handheld communications refer to a communications satellite’s ability to support consumer devices like smartphones. In designing infrastructure for direct-to-handheld NTN, one of the main goals is to minimize changes to smartphones themselves. This means that infrastructure nodes must deal with weak signals from smartphones, which can limit link capacity and indoor coverage.
Use case #5 aims to make it easier for both consumer and vertical market smartphones to integrate seamlessly into the NTN network. This will offer a better user experience by providing higher data rates and allowing for smoother transitions between TN and NTN links. Additionally, the 6G-NTN project plans to improve the ability to serve smartphones in light-indoor conditions, not just outdoors.
USE CASE #6
Continuous bi-directional data streams in high mobility
6G NTN provides an alternative connectivity solution for mobile applications like Automotive, in case the terrestrial network coverage is lost. To ensure uninterrupted connectivity for use cases that require a continuous stream, such as media content streaming and video conferencing, the interworking between TN and NTN networks is crucial.
Use case #6 is designed to prevent service interruption in scenarios where mobile data streams are essential, by complementing the TN and NTN networks. The following scenarios are addressed:
- NTN only usage
- NTN – TN switching usage
- NTN – NTN switching in cross-border usage
USE CASE #7
Direct communication over satellites
Use case #7 involves two or more User Equipments (UE) communicating with each other directly through satellite(s), without needing a feeder link connection between the satellite(s) and ground station(s). This use case is particularly useful for High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS), drones, and other components of the NTN infrastructure. By NTN infrastructure, we refer to vehicles for transmission that are either airborne (like HAPS) or in space (like satellites). However, the main technical challenges of implementing this use case are primarily related to the satellite segment.
The proposed scenarios cover:
- Public safety
The proposed use cases should be viewed as non-limiting examples of the enhanced existing applications and the new services that the combined NTN/TN infrastructure could provide. These use cases will then serve as a starting point for a thorough analysis of the requirements. More details about the 6G-NTN use cases will soon be available in Deliverable D2.1 – Use Case Report.