Vodafone and Ericsson Move Mobile Network Drone Delivery Closer to Reality
Drone delivery of goods and critical services via mobile networks is a step closer following successful testing by Vodafone and Ericsson. The proof of concept trial, carried out this month in Germany, proved how safe and secure flight path corridors can be established within network coverage.
The testing at Vodafone’s innovation centre in Aldenhoven, Germany, used network traffic data to ensure that drone paths avoided areas of poorer network coverage or heavily loaded cells. By doing so the drone is guaranteed connectivity from departure point to destination. It allows drone operators to use coverage maps to plan a secure and reliable connection path between the drone and the control centre.
Vodafone and Ericsson also explored how the mobile network could be used to control key drone features, such as the ability to instantly improve the definition of an on-board video camera without impacting other services. Such capabilities would be relevant in situations where live video streaming is not required for the entire flight, such as inspecting a suspension bridge.
“Our network has evolved into a powerful platform built on machine learning and artificial intelligence, capable of delivering video, TV and data services at gigabit speeds. As we enter the next stage of our evolution, we will use our software-driven, intelligent network to deliver new digital services that aid society,“ said Johan Wibergh, CTO at Vodafone Group.
“Drones are immensely powerful tools for many businesses. We are still only scratching the surface of the possibilities they will open up, which makes our collaboration with Vodafone all the more exciting. Smarter network capabilities on our reliable mobile network will enable key industries such as healthcare, construction, and agriculture to accelerate site deployment, reduce health and safety hazards, and save lives," said Erik Ekudden, CTO at Ericsson.