New LG U+ system lets drones fly themselves

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New LG U+ system lets drones fly themselves


Choi Joo-sik, executive vice president of the future and convergence division at LG U+, left, shows off the company’s drone control system at the telecommunication service company’s Yongsan office in central Seoul, Tuesday. [LG U+]

LG U+ unveiled a quasi-autonomous drone that operates via waypoints uploaded to a cloud-based interface.

The autonomous vehicle is expected to significantly impact a number of sectors where time and manpower are critical, including logistics, transportation and public safety.

“As long as drones are connected to our telecommunications network, they can be controlled regardless of how far away they are located,” said Kwon Yong-hoon, leader of the smart drone team at LG U+, at a press briefing held at the company’s Yongsan headquarters in central Seoul.

During Tuesday’s briefing a drone was able to locate a missing child in a park in Sangam-dong, western Seoul, in about three minutes.

The control center designated waypoints around the park for the drone to follow using the cloud-based interface. The drone does not need to be directly controlled in real time.

LG U+ drones follow the waypoints unless the internet connection cuts out or there is an error, when they return to the drone station.

The drone also live-streamed its search in the park to an internet protocol TV at the Yongsan headquarters via an LTE connection. The drone carries a modem developed by the company that can directly upload videos to its cloud system. Multiple users can watch videos in real-time with any internet-connected device, the carriers said.

“Unlike other drones that call for a separate encoder to be mounted on the device, our drones are embedded with modems that directly transmit videos to internet-connected devices,” said Choi Joo-sik, executive vice president of the future and convergence division at LG U+.

Choi introduced eight business areas where the carrier plans to implement the drone, including logistics, transport, security, surveying, public safety and disaster control. As its first step, LG U+ introduced a joint memorandum of understanding with three local companies inked on Monday.

With Hanwha Techwin, which has been developing industrial drones, LG hopes to apply its cloud-based control system to drone deliveries. With JY System, which specializes in using drones for surveying, LG plans to use the drones to measure the depth of the sea. Finally, LG hopes to work with Preneu to map coastlines and underwater topography.

LG is hoping to take the lead in the global drone market, which PricewaterhouseCoopers estimate will expand from 7.5 trillion won ($6.9 billion) in 2014 to 13.5 trillion won by 2023, especially as the uses for drones can be expanded exponentially on a high-speed 5G network.

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