Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Reliable, High Performance Wireless Systems for Factory Automation


Develop robust requirements, system models, recommended architectures, and guidelines for the integration of trustworthy wireless systems within factory work-cell where wireless is the primary mode of communication enabling robot mobility and ease of installation of edge devices.


With the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Smart Manufacturing Systems provide a vision of future manufacturing that incorporate highly dynamic physical systems, robust and responsive communications systems, and computing paradigms to maximize efficiency, enable mobility, promote flexibility, and realize the promises of the digital factory. Wireless technology is a key enabler of that vision and an essential element for automation within the future factory work-cell. Several challenges to integrating wireless systems within the factory environment include identifying robust reliability and performance requirements for wireless networks to support sensing and robot/machine control; managing coexistence of a variety of networks within a finite electromagnetic spectrum; realizing spectrum-aware and power-aware distributed edge computing, achieving high-reliability, low-latency, and scalability; and integrating spectrum awareness within factory automation systems. This project will develop and deploy validated wireless system requirements, system models, recommended architectures, and guidelines for establishing trustworthy wireless systems within the mobile and collaborative work-cell.

The new technical idea is to develop the measurement science basis for understanding the impact of wireless technology on reliability and performance in a factory environment. The wireless communication channel is finite in bandwidth, diminishing in power, and prone to significant delay, loss, and intrusion or jamming. Robust methods of frequency planning, measurement, cross-domain analytical approaches, communication architectures, and test methods are necessary to improve the reliability of the wireless system. 

Through collaboration with industry groups, academia, and other NIST robotics researchers, we will develop model architectures for high-priority relevant industrial use cases that include mobile and collaborative robotics with wireless interconnectivity. Use cases will be selected based on industry input and our own independent research. A workshop will be planned to solicit input from industry. We will develop implementation and integration methodologies. We will demonstrate spectrally-aware automation and IIoT systems for building trust that systems will perform reliably, coexist with other wireless protocols, and tolerate interference within a harsh and competitive factory radio environment. Through dialog with industry participants, analysis, and experimentation, we will produce guidance specifically targeted toward users of wireless technologies in the manufacturing work-cells domain. Guidelines will extend previous work by presenting a more in-depth analysis of factory automation systems to include discrete input/output (sensors, actuators, events, and identifiers), robotic manipulators, end-effectors, machine tools, safety integrated systems (SIS), and spectrum awareness. Through collaboration with NIST machine learning experts we will identify strategies for the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to wireless anomaly detection in the factory radio domain. We will develop and communicate strategies to integrate spectrum awareness into the factory control and safety systems. Finally, through collaboration among NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory, Communications Technology Laboratory, and industry partners, our research will support the standardization of wireless protocols for latency-sensitive control systems. 

Created December 4, 2018, Updated April 25, 2022