As reported by Nextgov on June 25, 2021, the U.S. Marine Corps and Verizon deployed a new generation of communications at their joint 5G “Living Lab” at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Miramar, California. and a prototype disaster response vehicle – the “Tactical Humanitarian Operations Response Vehicle (THOR)”.
THOR is the first 5G-enabled tactical emergency response vehicle that can operate on any network in any environment – from forest fires to remote military environments.
At Miramar Air Station, THOR demonstrated the ability to implement a full-featured 5G network — including communications between autonomous robots and self-driving battery transporters, video streaming between people and vehicles in the field, Sensor data on devices operating in harsh environments, as well as 5G mobile edge computing – providing a common operational picture in real time to assist decision makers.
Verizon Director of Public Safety Operations describes the THOR prototype and its applications in defense and emergency response. The U.S. Marine Corps and Verizon established an experimental test bed at Miramar Air Station about a year ago to explore the potential of 5G technology to support U.S. military operations. This is the first time Verizon has deployed 5G Ultra Wideband service on a military base. For the U.S. Department of Defense, it allows insiders to better understand the capabilities of this next-generation technology, and thus make better use of it.
THOR is also the first prototype 5G-based disaster response and command center vehicle. At its core, THOR is a modular, purpose-built 5G and edge computing architecture designed to comply with the U.S. National Incident Management System (NIMS-1) standard and provide full radio interoperability and onboard joint operations center services. In addition, it offers a so-called “multi-connectivity option” covering private 5G, commercial 4G LTE, land mobile radio (LMR) and tactical radio, wireless, microwave, mesh, and more. Other components include a 4G/5G radio, rear command center, cameras, seating for six, and an external touchscreen Display.
Equipped with a tethered drone, THOR can provide aerial views and feed over the network to ground equipment and command centers to better assist public safety or military personnel in risk and damage assessment, situational awareness or search and rescue operations.
Verizon said 5G technology will improve the network and technical capabilities of “first responders” and the U.S. military. In the case of infrastructure damage caused by forest fires or earthquakes, public safety personnel face many potential risks such as insufficient network coverage and network service interruption. THOR provides a solution that guarantees connectivity and reliability.
It has been revealed that THOR includes a “full menu” of emerging and existing technology solutions. This means that Verizon’s “Frontline” service can be offered in a number of different configurations, possibly in a future “a la carte” fashion for public safety or military iterations.