Jio is reportedly using drones for tower surveillance and maintenance
The telecom operator is also planning to deploy drones to survey sites and plan tower rollout for 5G
Jio is leveraging parent RIL’s subsidiary Asteria Aerospace to test use cases for drones for tower maintenance
Telecom giant Jio, which is gearing up for its 5G rollout, has started using drones for tower surveillance and maintenance. The telecom operator is also planning to deploy drone technology to survey sites, as well as plan the next phase of tower rollout for 5G.
In a bid to improve time and cost efficiencies, Jio is leveraging its parent Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL’s) subsidiary Asteria Aerospace to test use cases for tower maintenance, ET reported. Further, the telecom operator will use the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to check the health of towers and equipment deployed on those.
In 2019, Mukesh Ambani-led RIL acquired 51.78% equity stake worth INR 23.12 Cr in Bengaluru-based drone startup Asteria Aerospace, founded by Neel Mehta and Nihar Vartak in 2011.
Quoting Mehta, the director and cofounder of Asteria Aerospace, the report said that digitalising tower surveillance is crucial given the fact that towers in the country are poised to double over the next few years.
Talking to Inc42, Garuda Aerospace founder and CEO Agnishwar Jayaprakash said that the use of indigenous drones has increased across sectors.
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“What happens is the operations in terms of electricity, maintenance in terms of telecom, in terms of inspection of cable, doing surveillance, it becomes so easy because the drones are not requiring very high technical pilots to manage,” he added.
Further, the cost of drones has also reduced as they are being manufactured in the country while designs have improved because of the large volumes, Agnishwar Jayaprakash noted.
Lately, Jio has been experimenting with its 5G stack. It experimented with immersive retail experience and also trialled a virtual reality (VR) enabled multi-player cloud gaming experience. India’s own 5G stack is also expected to be ready around September-October, Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishanaw recently said.
According to Ankit Kumar, CEO of Skye Air Mobility, drone technology can be of immense use for tower companies. These companies currently employ people to conduct periodic inspections of towers in which a person has to climb the tower for inspections, which can also cause accidents. Using drones for such inspections can reduce accidents and provide real-time data on the integrity of towers.
Interestingly, Kumar also said that 5G can improve drone functionalities. Currently, drone startups are using three types of technologies for communication – radio frequency, 4G, and Satcom in remote areas.
“With the advent of 5G, latency will be very fast. Data or the information or the order I give to the drone to act on certain objectives will be delivered much faster. Then the drone will be able to do activities in a much faster manner,” Kumar noted.