mission critical 5G

Mission-Critical Applications Drive Adoption of 5G Small UAVs

by Nicolette Emmino

Over the past few years, small unmanned aerial vehicles have been deployed in public safety applications including surviellance, monitoring, traffic, and search and rescue. What do these applications have in common? They are all implemented using remote control and within visual line of sight.

When it comes to communication technologies such as LTE, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, there are plenty of restrictions and limitations. According to ABI Research,  public safety agencies in big markets have begun to deploy mobile broadband communication networks to replace existing narrowband technology. Adopting Long-Term Evolution (LTE) will eventually lead to 5G New Radio (NR) and reveal many civil use cases for small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sUAVs).

“The biggest strengths of 5G are high throughput and low latency,” said Lian Jye Su, a Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “The high throughput enables the seamless transmission of high-resolution images and videos that are critical for search and rescue missions. Low latency, on the other hand, allows sUAVs to be controlled by a centralized command and control in beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight. Path and route information, sensor information, geospatial, and telemetry data can be exchanged with the command and control almost instantaneously.”

As the number of sUAV s increase, so will the need for systems to control and manage national airspace, along with tracking and tracing capabilities. In addition, 5G also enhances existing geo-positioning technology. Currently, satellite communications such as GPS and GLONASS are used for sUAV tracking, but satellite signals face a canyoning effect in dense urban landscapes and are subjected to interruption by buildings and natural landscapes. In indoor environments, sUAVs rely on optical flow and ultrasonic sensors for positioning and navigation, but this system is limited to the hardware available on the sUAVs. Cellular technology can augment satellite by using a radio fingerprinting technique, which matches cellular signal measurements against a central calibrated database and does not require an extra device or upgrade to the public safety network.

Mission critical use cases require reliability and the ability to scale operations. 5G comes along with the potential to solve some of the many challenges that are faced in public safety applications. According to Su,
“The telecommunications industry will start to roll out 5G equipment and devices in 2019 and it is just a matter of time before we start to see 5G sUAVs being deployed by public safety agencies.”

5G systems will offer heightened levels of programmability along with the flexibility to meet different demands, enabling new mission-critical applications like robots and agricultural equipment. In addition, we could see a variety of new augmented reality applications such as building inspection and in flight simulators that could benefit from the bandwidth and data transfer capabilities of 5G.

Read ABI Research’s 5G Use Cases in sUAS application analysis report.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy