NTT DOCOMO, INC has announced that together with its capital affiliate Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., Ltd. (FET), one of Taiwan’s largest mobile operators, it has been testing the docomo skyTM service for inspecting base-station towers in Taiwan since June 20.
The service uses drones to photograph the towers and then wirelessly communicate the information to a command center in real time. This is the second overseas deployment of docomo sky, following Indonesia.
The first test, conducted on June 20 in the Hsinchu area of northwestern Taiwan, involved checking FET’s towers for equipment damage and rust using images taken by drones.
The test results, which were compared with the results of conventional inspections, confirmed that towers could be inspected in just one-third the time while significantly lowering related safety risks. Further tests are being conducted to confirm the service’s comprehensive effectiveness.
The overall tests are expected to verify the service’s effectiveness in realizing safe and efficient inspections. Personnel in the field typically are required to climb base-station towers to perform inspections, so FET is hoping to reduce the associated personnel costs and safety risks.
The service being tested is based on the docomo sky service that is now operating in Japan. DOCOMO is providing FET with a cloud platform for operational support and data analysis and a ground-control station application that enables drone operators to input flight data with ease. The drones fly automatically, take photos and transmit the images via the platform in real time, enabling technicians to inspect the towers via the docomo sky website immediately.
DOCOMO is expanding its drone-related businesses on a global scale in fields where demand is high. Going forward, DOCOMO will continue to develop and enhance its advanced drone services, one of the many ways the company aims to serve society by leveraging its mobile-network technologies, platform businesses and related technical assets and expertise.