Connecting cleaning drones to 5G networks

28 April 2022
Lucid Drone’s spraying UAS will be able to use 5G for sharing of flight data, battery utilization information, hardware diagnostics and delivery of firmware/software updates. Source: T-Mobile

T-Mobile has signed an agreement with Lucid Drone Technologies to provide internet of things (IoT) connectivity and management to a fleet of industrial spraying drones.

Lucid Drones has a fleet of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that are used for high-risk facilities maintenance work like exterior soft-wash cleaning and high-rise window washing.

Advantages to using drones for these types of operations include:

  • Less risk to humans that might be called on to do these jobs.
  • Reduction in liability insurance premiums.
  • Reduction in equipment fees.

The drones can perform exterior washing on any commercial building surfaces and windows including outdoor stadiums and arenas, hotels and universities. Lucid Drone said using UAS allows maintenance teams to steer clear of high-risk tasks and focus on other mission critical work.

5G benefits

T-Mobile said industrial spraying drones can use IoT connectivity for real-time sharing of flight data, battery utilization information, hardware diagnostics and delivery of firmware and software updates.

The technology will also allow Lucid to view and manage the connectivity of the spraying drones and accelerate deployment of its drone fleet.

Initially, T-Mobile will deliver 4G LTE connectivity to Lucid Drone but will transition to its 5G network for use cases such as network operations center access, live streaming video and remote piloting. The use of 5G networks could also introduce new drone applications that could use the technology’s low latency, high-speed data and real-time location and proximity-based services.

5G enabling BVLOS

T-Mobile said the plan is to use its 5G network to fly drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) and power more data-intensive capabilities like video streaming.

BVLOS allows drone operators to conduct complex drone operations where the device flies beyond a point where the operator can see it. This could be through a camera attached to the drone or for autonomous flight operations without a pilot.

BVLOS is seen as the next great chapter in drone delivery and drone operations as it will allow these unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to travel farther than ever before for both reconnaissance missions for the military or rescue maneuvers and to allow startups to take packages across larger distances to expand last-mile logistics operations.

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