Telstra previews «cell on wings» for emergency coverage

03 Oct 2018

Telstra has previewed new drone swarm and mobile “cell on wings” technology designed to provide mobile connectivity and search and rescue functionality in natural disasters and other emergency situations.

The company has developed a mobile small cell mounted on a drone to temporarily boost mobile network coverage in a local area.

As well as providing critical communications capabilities, the mounted small cell can ensure Telstra’s mobile network is capable of supporting the use of drones in emergency situations.

The new drone swarm is meanwhile a group of drones flying in formation and controlled by a single pilot, designed to use computer vision to map an area affected by fires or floods.

It uses computer vision capability to help identify specific objects, such as people in need of rescuing, and assess the overall scale of damage over a large area.

“In the future, 5G will allow operators using this type of technology to run missions end-to-end with an extensive data uplink capability,” Telstra CTO Håkan Eriksson said in a blog post.

“This would mean being able to stream large sets of live data (such as high resolution video) back to operators in real time, and back to the server for even more intelligent decision making.”

Telstra has already been using drones to inspect the damage to its network in the wake of natural disasters and assist with the repair process.

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