ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Biotechnology

Smartphone tech helping control drones from 60km away

Drone flying with high-speed LTE network (Photo courtesy of ACSL)

TOKYO -- The same network technology that Japan's smartphone users rely on is being tested to control drones up to 60km away.

If commercialized, the method could speed up the proliferation of drones in the distribution, security and other industries.

The Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory, a Chiba University venture, flies smartphone-equipped drones using the Long-Term Evolution network. The drones are controlled from NTT DoCoMo base stations.

Generally, drones run by radio wave can be controlled from no more than 1km away or so. The high-speed LTE network, however, allows for drones to be controlled from distances 60 times that.

Chiba University's laboratory has successfully controlled a drone at NTT DoCoMo's R&D Center in Kanagawa Prefecture's Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, from a site in Chiba, about 60km east of Tokyo.

In July, Japan's communications ministry relaxed restrictions on using phones for flight purposes so mobile carriers and other parties could test smartphone-equipped drones on the LTE network.

After obtaining the proper license, DoCoMo on Sept. 9 began trial flights in cooperation with the university laboratory.

Drones flying with the aid of the LTE network can send images and reports on flying conditions. And flying drones on an existing network requires no additional infrastructure investment.

DoCoMo and the laboratory plan to analyze data on in-flight communications conditions and on possible interference with ground communications in a bid to sort out problems before commercializing the technology.

(Nikkei)

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends June 30th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media