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TELECOM & INTERNET, TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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M1 and NTU Singapore to use 4.5G network for drone tests

The drones can assist in managing airspace traffic.

M1 Limited (M1) and Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) conducted successful trials in using M1's 4.5G Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) for drone operations.

According to a press release, the tests included flying a purpose-built drone, an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) assembled by the Air Traffic Management Research Institute (ATMRI).

Using M1’s 4.5G HetNet, the drone was flown around M1’s premises at International Business Park, as well as two fields in Wan Shih Road and Old Holland Road.

"Conventional drone operations use an unlicensed spectrum such as 2.4 GHz band to provide short-range line-of-sight wireless connectivity but it is susceptible to radio signal interference. In contrast, a well-optimised 4.5G HetNet provides secured, low latency and high throughput mobile connectivity, enabling drones to fly beyond visual range in an urban environment," M1 said.

M1 and ATMRI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, to research and develop M1’s 4.5G HetNet for the traffic management of UAS in Singapore’s urban environment.

Together with engineers from M1, NTU researchers will map out the signal strengths and end-to-end latency of M1’s HetNet for Singapore’s entire urban airspace using drones, up to 130 metres (400ft), the height of a 36-storey building.

The joint project is expected to last three years, with M1 providing usage of their network and their engineering expertise, whilst NTU provides the expertise in traffic management of unmanned aircraft systems.

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