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Tokyo, Japan - May 10, 2023 - SENSYN ROBOTICS, in collaboration with Tohoku Electric Power Network Co., Inc. conducted indoor and outdoor verification experiments of a radio relay station as part of the continued research into the possibilities of automated and remote drone piloting.
For these experiments, two types of drone bases, "Skydio Dock" and "SENSYN Drone Hub," which automatically take off, land, and recharge drones, were in use.
The drone bases perform the above operations automatically, therefore, not requiring complicated handling of drones. As a result, personnel do not have to visit the sites on a case-by-case basis. Automatic flight allows unmanned drone operations, which enables accurate data acquisition and labor-cost saving.
At microwave radio relay stations on mountain tops, there have been issues of vehicles being unable to access them due to fallen trees caused by natural disasters or due to heavy snowfall during the winter season. In the event of facility malfunctions, the staff of the communication center as well as those from partner companies have to walk up to the sites to check the status. To solve these problems, we conducted automatic drone takeoff and landing tests from the drone bases which were set up at the microwave radio relay station on the mountain summit. With the help of auto-drone flights, we examined and considered means to remotely inspect radio towers, antennas, equipment inside the station premises, and the electric power distribution line patrol routes without having to physically visit the site. Research into facilities maintenance operations was conducted to contribute to improving both safety and efficiency.
Details of the experiments
For these experiments, we used the drone (Skydio2+) and the drone base "Skydio Dock" to create auto-flight routes and via the cloud platform we performed autonomous flights.
Skydio devices carry Visual-SLAM* technology, which enables self-localization even indoors where GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) signals are not available. The Skydio drones are also capable of automatically avoiding obstacles through AI processing. Moreover, autonomous flights are possible remotely by simply pressing the takeoff button.
Indoor facilities at the top of the mountain were remotely monitored from the communication center. The drone flew autonomously in the communication machinery room and the power supply room without any problems respectively and acquired image data suitable for facility inspections.
Takadate Radio Relay Station where the experiments were conducted.
Inspections of the radio tower inside the radio relay station
We conducted inspection patrols of parabolic antennas and waveguides installed on the radio tower inside the radio relay station premises. After establishing a Wi-Fi environment, we flew the drone to the top of the tower (60m) and successfully acquired image data for outside radio tower inspections. The drone was able to fly seamlessly and autonomously along the entire flight routes both indoors and outdoors (communication machinery room, power supply room, and radio tower). These flights were performed successfully from a remote location.
In addition, by using the "SENSYN Drone Hub" we carried out an automatic flight verification test for the remote monitoring of patrol routes. We created flight routes starting from inside the radio relay station that allowed us to check the status of the patrol routes in case of an emergency and or disaster. We were able to acquire necessary image data for the status checking.
We continue to work hard on improving any issues revealed from the experiments with the Tohoku Electric Power Network. We are committed to improving safety and efficiency for the facilities maintenance operations.
SENSYN Drone Hub for Remote Monitoring of Patrol Routes
*Visual-SLAM...Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (technology for self-localization and environmental mapping mainly with camera images and used to control autonomous mobile robots, etc.)
About SENSYN ROBOTICS
SENSYN ROBOTICS provides the guidance to organizations who seek digital transformations by laying out a DX platform tailored to the organization's needs.
We invest our time to bring DX to social infrastructures.
Our mission is to “evolve what we take for granted in society through the power of robotics”. We strive to solve challenges which businesses and societies face with the assistance of robotic technologies such as drones. We use our expertise to provide technologies and solutions to solve numerous challenges ranging from labor shortage, error prevention, safety improvement, to prompt countermeasures in the event of disasters.
We pledge to provide comprehensive support from project design (PD) to proof of concept (PoC), up to the implementation of services in real world applications.
Our aim at SENSYN ROBOTICS is to use the power of robotics and AI to solve social issues.