HomeAutonomous VehiclesPrivate LTE works for public-safety drones, says Nokia after tsunami trial

Private LTE works for public-safety drones, says Nokia after tsunami trial

Private LTE works as a control and communications technology for drones, said Nokia, after concluding a test flight of a drone on a private LTE installation in Japan.

The Finnish vendor worked with Sendai City in the centre of Tohoku Region, northeast of Tokyo on Honshu Island, to look at usage of drones using private LTE in disaster scenarios. Specifically, the pair claimed the first test of private wireless connected drones for tsunami evacuation alerts.

The coastal areas of Japan’s Tohoku Region were devastated by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, and have come to be recognized internationally through the United Nations as a symbol of disaster risk reduction and reconstruction.

Sendai City, with a population of around one million people, has also been designated as a ‘National Strategic Special Zone’ by the Japanese government, with attention on the use of the latest digital technologies by local businesses and communities.

The drone test with Nokia assumed a major tsunami warning would be issued in the coastal area near the Minami-Gamo Water Treatment Ceter in Miyagino Ward, Sendai City. Nokia deployed a plug-and-play private LTE network near the water treatment centre.

Speakers, HD cameras and thermal cameras were mounted on drones, also from Nokia. Testers were able to issue a tsunami warning to evacuees in coastal areas through via the drone-mounted speaker, and monitor the tsunami and coastal areas through drone-mounted video streams.

They also guided people to evacuation sites using the drone to convey directions, and monitored the movements of evacuees using the drone camera.

Kazuko Kohri, mayor of Sendai City, commented: “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.”

John Harrington, head of Nokia in Japan, said: “Based on this demonstration, we hope to contribute to disaster prevention and mitigation for Sendai City and other local governments in Japan.”

Nokia is offering a ‘drone networks’ solution consisting of one or several drones equipped with gimbals with HD and thermal cameras, a private LTE wireless network, a drone flight command and control centre, and video analysis applications. The solution has been adopted by the Red Cross in the Philippines as a social infrastructure for disaster relief operations. 

Nokia and Sendai City signed a deal in 2017 for improving the safety and security of citizens and supporting local industries through the use of technology.

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