LG Uplus signs agreement for 5G-based smart drones in Korea
Korean carrier LG Uplus has recently signed a business agreement for the development of AI differentiation solutions and specialized mission equipment for 5G-based smart drones with the Industry-Academic Cooperation Foundation at Korea Aerospace University and Quaternion.
According to Korean press reports, LG Uplus loaded 5G mobile communication and remote control functions into drones. Smart drone services perform non-visible control functions and real-time video transmission. Its AI fire detection system for drones uses AI image analysis services based on edge computing and thermal imaging cameras.
Korea Aerospace University is a private university specialized in the aviation sector. Quaternion is a company that specializes in drone structure design, flight control systems and safety solutions. It has drone-specific small mission equipment solutions and original flight control computer (HW/SW) technology. In 2021, the company showed safety solutions using wired drones in order to prevent tidal flat accidents and is engaging in the commercialization of mobile wired drone systems.
Through this cooperation, LG Uplus will secure additional small and medium-sized drone lineups and develop mission equipment such as small, light, and high-pixel thermal imaging (EO/IR) cameras. In addition, the Korean carrier plans to use drones in forest fire detection services after ramping up their flight time, boosting convenience and applying AI fire detection technology to them.
In April 2021, Nokia signed an agreement with LG Uplus to expand 5G coverage by installing small cell solutions from Nokia’s AirScale portfolio across the country. Under the terms of the deal, Nokia installed its small cell AirScale Indoor (ASiR) systems in a range of indoor locations, including shopping malls and office buildings.
LG Uplus also uses 5G equipment from Huawei, Samsung and Ericsson. The operator launched 5G service in April 2019 along with rivals SK Telecom and KT.
South Korea ended October with a total of 19.38 million subscribers in the 5G segment, according to the latest available data from the Ministry of Science and ICT. 5G subscribers at the end of October accounted for 27% of the total 72.15 million mobile subscriptions in the country.
The country’s largest carrier, SK Telecom, ended October with 9.13 million subscribers in the 5G segment, followed by KT with 5.92 million and LG Uplus with 4.29 million.
The total number of 5G subscribers in South Korea is expected to reach 20 million by the end of 2021, given that the average monthly net additions of 5G users stood at around 720,000.
Korean operators already provide 5G coverage in 85 cities across the country, according to previous reports.
Also, the country’s ICT ministry recently found that average 5G download speeds in South Korea reached 808.45 Mbps in the first half of this year, an improvement from 690.47 Mbps in the second half of 2020.
South Korean telecom operators currently provide 5G services via NonStandalone 5G networks, which depend on previous 4G LTE networks. The country’s three carriers launched 5G in April 2019.