Sendai City tests private wireless connected drones

Sendai City and Nokia has successfully conducted a test flight of a Nokia drone on a private LTE network provided by Nokia Digital Automation Cloud to be used during tsunami or other disasters to help in prevention and mitigation efforts.

The test verified that using a private LTE network to control and communicate with the drones is an effective means for enhancing situational awareness and communicating with the affected population during a disaster. This is the first time in the world this type of trial has been conducted.

Sendai City is the center of Tohoku Region, Japan, and lies northeast of Tokyo on Honshu Island, with a population of over 1 million. Nokia deployed a private LTE network near the Minami-Gamo Water Treatment Center using its plug-and-play digital automation cloud technology. Using speakers, HD cameras and thermal cameras mounted on Nokia drones, the testers delivered recorded and real-time voice messages and conducted aerial monitoring using HD and thermal camera video streaming from the drones.

During the simulated disaster, the testers were able to issue a major tsunami warning to evacuees in coastal areas through the drone speaker, and monitor the tsunami arrival zone and coastal areas through drone camera images. They also guided people to evacuation sites using the drone to convey directions, and monitored the movements of evacuees using the drone camera.

Sendai Mayor Kazuko Kohri said, “The use of these drones seems to be very effective in ensuring the safety and security of Sendai and its surrounding areas. The demonstration by Nokia showed that we should be able to respond faster and provide better information to the people in the most affected areas during a potential disaster.”

John Harrington, Head, Nokia Japan said, “Nokia Drone Networks has been adopted by the Red Cross in the Philippines as a social infrastructure for disaster relief operations. Based on this demonstration, we hope to contribute to disaster prevention and mitigation for Sendai City and other local governments in Japan.”

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