Latvian mobile innovator, LMT, has successfully piloted a drone located in Latvia from a 3500+ kilometers distance during the Comp4Drones final demonstration in Spain on October 19, 2022. This demonstration was unique in the fact that a mobile network is used as a communication channel for cross-country drone piloting, while network coverage forecasting and remote route validation will be ensured by AirborneRF.
The purpose of this demonstration is to test remote drone flights in areas where network coverage has not previously been measured on-site, instead relying on fully remote network forecasts. Such demonstrations are an attempt to explore future business possibilities for cellular network-connected drone technologies, as well as for network infrastructure providers, since these drones will become new equipment to use this infrastructure.
“Before the Comp4Drones demonstration in Spain, LMT has done extensive network measurements and compared the actual coverage data with the forecasted, validating the reliability and availability of the network in very-low level airspace (up to 120m). What we see from the findings is that the existing network configuration is sufficient for today's needs, but the work on network capabilities must be continued as the number of drones and BVLOS (beyond the visual line of sight) flights will increase,” says Gints Jakovels, Innovation Lead at LMT.
The drone was located in Latvia and piloted from the Rozas airport near Lugo, Spain. During the flight, those present were able to observe the AirborneRF network forecast and actual network parameters during the flight, as well as follow the flight on the map on the LMT Drone Park platform. The flight was conducted during the final demonstration of the Comp4Drones project, which aims to provide a framework of key enabling technologies for safe and autonomous drones. The project brings together a consortium of 51 partners from 8 countries.
Gints Jakovels went on to add, "With the successful drone flight that LMT performed yesterday, we're now entering the final phase of the Comp4Drones project. We were able to pilot a drone from a more than 3500km distance, and our success is an important step towards validating our hypothesis and assumptions about mobile network availability in VLL airspace.
Cellular connectivity will be crucial for scaling the use of UAVs in a safe and secure way. Since 5G will play a key role in enabling BVLOS flights and providing secure communication channels with UAVs, we're now shifting our focus on 5G technologies and their performance in altitudes below 500 ft, where most UAVs will operate in the near future."
LMT has previously successfully demonstrated drone flights BVLOS on the mobile network. For the first time in the region, such a demonstration was conducted in 2019 during the 5G Techritory forum in Riga, when a drone located 30 kilometers away in Ādaži was piloted remotely and switched from one base station to another en route.