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The ability to easily cross borders while maintaining connectivity would make it possible for drones to participate in cross-border missions such as railway safety measures by monitoring and maintaining tracks that are in border regions.
The majority of drone solutions are based on WiFi connections or other frequencies provided for drone management. In contrast to the mobile network, those are limited in their range. If there’s sufficient coverage in the air, the mobile network can ensure uninterrupted connectivity throughout the entirety of its flight, which significantly improves safety.
The Latvian mobile telephone network LMT successfully completed the first-ever cross-border drone flight conducted entirely over the mobile network. The drone was flown from Latvia to Estonia without losing mobile network connectivity.
The drone’s Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight crossed the border, where it connected to the Estonian mobile network for the final leg of the journey.
The flight was started in Latvia and ended in Estonia, with the multirotor drone traveling a total of 8km. The drone was equipped with two SIM cards – one from each country – and switched from one to the other mid-flight as it crossed the border. To accomplish the BVLOS flight, UgCS ground control software was used in combination with a custom-built command and control modem that was built in collaboration with SPH Engineering. The cross border demonstration proved the hypothesis that it is technically feasible to switch networks within a few milliseconds, and provided the confidence to continue with cross-border mobile network-based project development.
LMT is able to significantly contribute to pushing forward the global understanding of what mobile networks are capable of, according to suasnews.com.
Another development has been carried out by Rail Baltica, the international railway project spanning the Baltic states, are considering 5G technologies for potential use in railway infrastructure.