NTT DOCOMO, has developed an application-programming interface (API) for its docomo sky drone-operation platform and then used the API to successfully integrate docomo sky with NEXSYS-ONE’s tower maintenance platform in a joint trial, demonstrating the possibility to use drones for automated inspections and maintenance of mobile-network base-station towers.
DOCOMO aims to broaden the safe and efficient use of drones in diverse fields, such as manufacturing, media and infrastructure, in addition to inspections of base-station towers and solar panels.
DOCOMO launched the trial in Guam with NEXSYS-ONE, a leading telecom SaaS company based in Dubai, on July 24. The trial, now completed, involved connecting docomo sky platform and the NEXSYS-ONE’s tower deployment and maintenance platforms for efficient, automated inspection tasks implemented with drones. Using the linked platforms, the base-station towers of mobile operator DOCOMO PACIFIC, a wholly owned DOCOMO subsidiary, were inspected to confirm the accuracy and practicality of performing work based on automated procedures using drones.
The docomo sky platform enables one-stop services from flight preparation to data analysis using AI. The “Nexsysone” tower deployment and maintenance platforms capture tower heights, shapes and locations.
During the trial, inspection data was checked remotely by a technician to determine required new tasks, such as the timing of following inspections, based on the inspection results. These needs were then communicated to a remote drone operator, who in turn transmitted new commands to the drone.
The drone-based inspections were carried out with greater ease than in the case of conventional inspections, and the accuracy and efficiency of the following functions were confirmed:
Using Nexsysone interface (dashboard, etc.) to unify management of docomo sky drone data and Nexsysone tower information
Systematically handling all maintenance via Nexysone functions for managing work progress and information sharing
Detecting errors by deploying AI on docomo sky and then issuing commands for new tasks according to the results
Inspections for infrastructure construction and facility maintenance normally involve technicians physically visiting sites to conduct direct visual inspections. In some regions, such as Southeast Asia and Guam, inspections sometimes are delayed due to costs and difficulties in securing and training qualified technicians. Maintaining systems for the regular inspection and prompt recovery of infrastructure is especially critical in regions where natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis are not uncommon.
Going forward, DOCOMO will continue to leverage its network technology, platform business expertise and other technological assets and knowhow to develop advanced drone services for global markets, aiming to help society solve pressing issues and achieve greater prosperity.