Telefónica announced today it has accomplished a first use case in Spain, based on 5G-connection for a successful drone delivery of a package, reports a press release. The main objective was to evaluate how a 5G network “can facilitate the development and implementation of services with drones” within urban environments.
This use case is to be discussed at a presentation entitled ‘Drones 5G, present and future’, taking place on February 28th, during the Mobile World Congress 2023 at the Agora Centre, Valencia.
The release states, “The trial consisted of several flying drones, communicating with each other, within an urban environment. The aim was to achieve a correct delivery of a package to a mobile collection point, while another drone flight in a restricted area zone attempted to impede its flight.”
The project is part of the Telefónica 5G Madrid proposal, where the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation via Red.es, and co-financed with FEDER funds, is promoting the use of 5G in Spain.
Telefónica is collaborating with Gradiant “for the development, integration and implementation of the intelligent cooperative communications system (based on 5G and C‑V2X)”, within a smart city, as well as Correos (a pioneering company in the exploration of new drone delivery solutions). Ericsson is also participating alongside Genasys (LBS service and emergency communication specialist) with an analysis and study of what 5G can offer.
Use cases implemented as part of the trial:-
Traffic coordination between two drones: One drone intercepts the passage of another drone, detecting a risk of collision. One of the drones stops, giving way to the other one, thus avoiding a collision and then each drone continues on its own route.
Restricted area warning: A beacon connected on the ground marks a restricted area and constantly reports its location. The drone on its trajectory, upon entering that zone, detects that it is a restricted area, leaves and proceeds to go around it, continuing on its route.
Package delivery at a mobile delivery point: The mobile collection point is equipped with the beacon connected in such a way that it periodically sends its position and so the drone goes to that point and makes a precise landing.
Leonor Ostos, Innovation Manager at Telefonica Spain, commented, “This innovative use case arises from a future need. The applications of drones in both the business and everyday world are innumerable: transportation of goods, photography, search and rescue, agriculture, engineering inspections, 3D mapping, surveillance, environment, recreational flights, etc..” He continued, “For all of these, drones need communications where data is transmitted and collected in real time. This project aims to deepen these possibilities.”
The release continues, “To make this trial possible, it has been necessary to combine several technologies such as 5G, C‑V2X communications (the same ones used in the connected car), RTK technology and mobile localisation.”
Other Global Drone Delivery Companies are Exploring 5G as well as 6G
5G technology with its low latency and high bandwidth is key for the development of drone delivery, as low latencies are decisive to establish real-time communication between drones and drone-connected objects.
C‑V2X technology, used in vehicular communications, has enabled the drone’s ability to interact with its environment through short-range messages, communicating with a Smart City to react to changing environmental conditions. RTK technology (Real-Time Kinetic Satellite Navigation) offers precise locations with centimetre margins of error, essential for precise situations like the landing of drones on mobile mailboxes.
In addition, the 5G location service, which provides location information and an estimate of the drone’s distance from the antenna, is proposed as a second independent positioning source to contrast the position calculated with GNSS, guaranteeing the integrity of the positioning.
For more information