5G-controlled drones to go on trial for Singapore port surveillance

5G-controlled drones to go on trial for Singapore port surveillance

In an attempt to improve port surveillance in Singapore, drones controlled through 5G network will dot the skies above the southern coastal waters. This flight trial will start in August near Marina South Pier, and it will test how drones can be controlled remotely through the help of 5G mobile networks. 

In a joint statement released today (June 11), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and M1 announced their partnership with Airbus.

“We believe that 5G will sharpen Singapore’s competitive advantage as a key trading and connectivity hub in the region and beyond,” Tan Kiat How, the IMDA chief executive said, urging other businesses small and big to join in building Singapore’s 5G ecosystem.

It is worth noting that this localized 5G network planned to be set up by Telco M1 is not a part of the country’s two planned nationwide networks expected to blanket Singapore with 5G signals by 2025. SingTel alongside a joint venture between M1 and StarHub have been given the go-ahead to build these two nationwide 5G networks. 

5G networks are way faster than their predecessors, 4G, and they promise lower latency. Such advantages are expected to translate to safe, precise, and more reliable communications for unmanned aviation operations.

Additionally, 5G technologies provide enhanced real-time data on the position and location of drones better than satellite technologies.

Airbus and M1 have also signed a memorandum of understanding that allows them to conduct 5G trials for inland areas to help address the increasing interest in uncrewed aircraft systems.

Last month, M1, Samsung, and IBM announced a tie-up for a trial for 5G smart manufacturing, looking for ways tech can enhance the control of smart devices such as robotic arms.

M1 and SingTel had begun testing the remote control for equipment in the port such as driverless cars and cranes over a 5G connection with PSA International in 2019.

IMDA launched a US$40 million funding with National Research Foundation mid last year to accelerate the introduction of 5G networks in six clusters, including maritime operations.

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