Nokia and Sendai test drone use cases for tsunamis

The testers attempted to use a drone to lead people out of safety in a simulated tsunami situation.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Nokia and the city of Sendai, located in Japan, announced on Tuesday that they successfully conducted trials of drone use cases for tsunamis and other disaster situations. 

The trial used a drone that was mounted with speakers, HD cameras, and thermal cameras.

During the trial, which entailed using a drone in a simulated tsunami situation, testers used the drone to record and deliver real-time voice messages, such as tsunami warnings, to test evacuees in coastal areas. 

The testers also guided people to evacuation sites by using the drone to convey directions, monitor the movements of evacuees using the drone camera, and conduct aerial monitoring through streaming footage from its HD and thermal cameras, Nokia claimed.

"The use of these drones seems to be very effective in ensuring the safety and security of Sendai and its surrounding areas. The demonstration by Nokia showed that we should be able to respond faster and provide better information to the people in the most affected areas during a potential disaster," said Sendai Mayor Kazuko Kohri.  

The trial was conducted on a private LTE network near the Minami-Gamo Water Treatment Center in Sendai and used Nokia's plug-and-play digital automation cloud technology.

The drone was trialled from November 9-12 in conjunction with the World Disaster Prevention Forum in Sendai.

Last month, the Finnish telco equipment maker announced a partnership with Japanese telco NTT DoCoMo and industrial automation company Omron to conduct 5G trials. The trials aim to couple 5G and artificial intelligence together to create "real-time coaching" for workers.

"Machine operators will be monitored using cameras, with an AI-based system providing feedback on their performance based on an analysis of their movements," Nokia said at the time.

Optus and Ericsson test drone over 5G network

Meanwhile in Australia, Optus and Ericsson successfully tested a 5G teleoperated drone over a live 5G network, the companies announced. The trial marks the first time this has been done in the country.

The flight was completed at Optus' Macquarie Park campus with the drone simultaneously transmitting HD video, through a 5G handset, over a live 5G network as part of a 5G future-use showcase.

Optus said the drone also identified and tracked objects using the processors in the cloud via a 5G connection.

"As we build out our network and it reaches maturity in around 18-24 months' time we will start to see these use cases put into action thanks to the ultra-high reliability and low latency provided by 5G which is critical in supporting these technologies," said Dennis Wong, Optus Networks managing director.

At the start of this month, the telco announced that 138,000 homes in its 5G footprint could order a fixed wireless service. Previously, the telco called for expressions of interest from customers to be connected to the service.

Optus claimed at the time that it had "over 200" customers connected to the service. The Optus 5G Home service kicked off at the start of the year, with customers paying AU$70 per month for unlimited data at a 50Mbps minimum speed guarantee.

Optus currently has over 290 5G sites that utilise both Ericsson and Nokia equipment.

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