Orange Belgium’s 5G network is used to ensure that Helicus’ drones are supported by a reliable connection with the ground control when shipping medical supplies or human samples, says a company press release.
The operator has partnered with HAI-SCS on the transportation of medical supplies. The “HAI-SCS” project stands for “Helicus Aero Initiative – Scheduling, Connectivity and Security”. The HAI ecosystem targets three gaps to enable automated drone services:
- Artificial Intelligence will drive drone fleet Scheduling,
- 5G/4G/radio cascaded Connectivity slices will link all actors
- in an integrated cyber Secure manner
The ecosystem partners are jointly performing R&D activities for a value of EUR3.6 million on these three research topics. Launched one year ago, HAI-SCS is on track to deliver its results by December 2021. The project is supported by VIL (Flanders innovation cluster for logistics) and the regional innovation agencies Innoviris (Brussels) and VLAIO (Flanders).
Drones can normally rely on low-bandwidth connections for their operation. However, in case of danger, and especially when carrying a critical payload, an alarm is raised and an immediate video connection with the drone needs to be established. This requires a high-bandwidth connection to transfer the video images to the ground control and/or the hospital, in order to receive and process the payload.
Using Orange Belgium’s 5G standalone network, the drones have access to high throughput and low latency, with a guaranteed level of quality based upon network slicing.
Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise, Innovation and Wholesale Officer of Orange Belgium, comments: “We’re delighted to support the Helicus initiative, which demonstrates the real added value of 5G for socially-relevant purposes. It clearly shows how important a reliable network, with guaranteed quality of service and network slicing, can be instrumental in saving human lives.”
Johan Decuyper, CEO of Belgian Air Navigation Service Provider skeyes, comments: “We see HAI-SCS as a next step in scalable, safe and compliant drone operations that we are co-developing with our partners.”
“The development of the civil drone industry depends on the ability of drones to operate safely and reliably in various parts of the airspace”, says Thibaud Jongen, CEO of SABCA. “Complex solutions that lead to highly reliable systems can only be realised with the support of the right partners and research centres.”
Mikael Shamim, CEO Helicus and HAI-SCS project coordinator: “We are jointly building the foundation for automated drone operations that will enable urgent medical deliveries of blood, human tissue and clinical samples, and thus save lives.”
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