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The human impact of 5G: Meet the smart drones that...

The human impact of 5G: Meet the smart drones that could save your life

As we are moving closer to launching 5G, take a look at why the next generation of mobile technology will be a critical element powering new innovations to save lives on Australian beaches.

The family trip to the beach is an iconic tradition for many Australians – especially those who are lucky enough to live close (or close enough) to our famous coastlines. Beach safety is imprinted on many of us as children, the importance of respecting the ocean and following the directions of lifeguards. However, there is always a level of risk when you choose to swim at the beach – and advanced technologies can play an important role in helping us manage this risk, to help keep as many people as safe as possible.

This week, we showed how the Telstra mobile network can be used to operate drones with object recognition capability that seeks to locate a missing person, using a familiar scenario – a missing teenager, swimming out of their depth and having difficulty returning to shore alone.

We are already seeing examples of drones being used by lifeguards to assist in rescue situations; our demonstration took this a significant step further by using AI-equipped drones that use video analytics to recognise people and objects automatically rather than this being done manually by a lifeguard. Network connectivity is also the foundation for assisting drones to cooperate safely in the same airspace as rescue helicopters – a key advancement and crucial to show the roles drones play within an end-to-end rescue situation.

For this demonstration, 4G was used to create point to point video links from the drones back to the viewing area on the beach. With advanced capability and scale offered by the incoming 5G technology, it will be possible for surf life saving organisations to execute these kinds of rescues at a much larger scale along the popular coastlines of Australia.


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