Virgin Media O2 carries out 5G drone trial

Virgin Media O2 has conducted a trial with Fotokite to demonstrate how first responders could use tethered drones to assess emergency situations.

The tethered Fotokite Sigma system was successfully tested to receive 5G network connectivity from its base station on the ground, to transfer real-time data to first responders at the location and local hospital teams via a smart tablet.

The system’s ultra-reliable low latency, uninterrupted aerial monitoring, and set up time of two minutes was demonstrated to help response teams quickly conduct situational analysis of a scene, potentially saving lives.

Rob Searle, head of 5G at Virgin Media O2, said, “This is an important piece of technology and a further example of how 5G technologies can provide societal benefits. We are relentlessly pursuing new 5G-enabled innovations that will make real differences to people’s lives, from smart cities to connected vehicles and our work with utilities companies to the NHS. This partnership with Fotokite is another example of this, and could transform how emergency services operate and react to life-threatening situations.

Chris McCall, CEO at Fotokite, added, “Safety-critical data sharing in public safety applications can make real impact when information is distributed quickly and reliably. Incident commanders and decision makers have new capabilities when it comes to 5G-enabled technologies like the Fotokite Sigma, and we are excited to work with O2 in a joint mission to help those public safety teams save lives and stay safe.”

The Fotokite is available in three separate configurations, including a rooftop box, transport case and tray mount. It can also operate reliably in harsh conditions, day or night, with the technology activated with one button to launch and the same to land.

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Charlotte Hathway

Charlotte is the editor of Comms Business and writes about the latest technology innovations and business developments across the Channel. Got a story? Get in touch –

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