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A test flight successfully conducted by Sendai City, Japan and Nokia tested the potential use of drones during a tsunami — or other disasters — to help in prevention and mitigation efforts. The test flight demonstrated a Nokia drone which used a private LTE network, a mobile device standard, provided by Nokia Digital Automation Cloud, . The test verified that using a private LTE network to control and communicate with the drones is an effective means for enhancing situational awareness and communicating with the affected population during a disaster. 

Sendai City is located in the center of the Tohoku Region, in Japan and its coastal areas were devastated by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake back in 2011. 

According to Nokia, during the verification test, it was assumed that a major tsunami warning would be issued.

Nokia drones using private LTE networks were conceived a few years ago with the vision of offering smart cities their own private network dedicated to city drone management. The years of research and testing brought the world’s first test of a wireless connected drone using a private LTE network to Sendai City, according to interestingengineering.com.

Nokia Drone Networks has also been adopted by the Red Cross in the Philippines as a social infrastructure for disaster relief operations. With the tests in Sendai, the disaster prevention and mitigation for Sendai City and other local governments in Japan took a step forward in how drones on private LTE networks can be used in smart cities.