Terra Drone and KDDI trial autonomous BVLOS mobile-telecom based operations

Terra Drone, a Japanese industrial drone service provider, and KDDI Corporation, a Japanese telecommunications operator have succeeded in a fully autonomous flight experiment of “Smart Drone” using a 3D map and drone port, say the organisations. As a result of the experiment, the world’s first long-distance drone flight of about 6.3 km via the drone port which enables a drone to recharge automatically, successfully returned to the landing site after spraying terraced ponds with pesticide. Terra Drone and KDDI aim to establish an infrastructure that enables secure long-distance autonomous flight utilizing Smart Drone and the mobile communication network.

This demonstration is an experiment for safe flight altitude setting on the 3D map and automatic charging by drone port, which verified that the long-distance autonomous drone flight is technically possible.

KDDI has partnered with Terra Drone and Zenrin, a Japanese map publisher to jointly developed the “Smart Drones Platform,” which realizes safe drone flight using the mobile communication network and 3D map for autonomous drone flight and set a secure flight altitude automatically. 3D map enables a drone to cognize altitude differences of topography such as mountains and hills, buildings, and Terra Drone and KDDI accomplished automatic discrimination of difference in elevation of more than 100m in this experiment.

The drone port developed by Prodrone Co., Ltd., an industrial drone platform manufacturer, has the automatic landing function based on image recognition which enables long-distance flight via Drone Port.

In the future, when Smart Long-distance autonomous flight infrastructure of smart drone using this mobile communication network has established, this platform will be active in the fields of not only agriculture but also surveying topography and equipment, security of facilities, disaster monitoring and delivery to remote areas.

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