Nokia harnesses LTE and MEC for new drone project in Dubai

Nokia has expanded the scope of its drones project in Dubai by developing LTE-connectivity and a control system for telcos and local authorities.

It was first announced in July last year that Nokia and Emirati operator du were collaborating on the network testing capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles. Nokia equipped drones with smartphones carrying analytics tools and conducted in-air performance analysis, speed tests, radio planning, tower inspections and line of sight testing. At the time, speculated over the future of drones in telecoms, covering projects such as Google’s Project Loon.

In preparation for smart cities making increasing use of drones for various purposes, Nokia has developed the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management system for operators, governments and public safety authorities to monitor and control drones.

The system works over LTE with drones equipped with dongles as well as GPS and access modules for telemetry data. Nokia says the technology also utilises mobile edge computing to access locally cached data quickly.

Speaking about the tech, Nokia’s head of customer marketing and communications in the Middle East, Joachim Wuilmet, said the announcement will help maximise safety of smart cities around the world.

“LTE enables innovative high-bandwidth services for the telecom industry and beyond,” he said. “With market-leading LTE expertise, Nokia’s UTM concept for operators and authorities can enable the safe operation of drones as part of the development of smart cities in UAE and around the globe.”

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