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Japan Unleashes 5G Revolution for Drones: Ban Lifted by 2024, Transforming Disaster Relief, Infrastructure Inspections, and Aerial Broadcasting

Japan plans to end the ban on drones accessing 5G networks by 2024. 5G-enabled drones will be able to transmit high-definition video and images. Applications include disaster relief, infrastructure inspections, and broadcasting aerial images during sporting events.

In a groundbreaking move, the Japanese government has announced its plans to lift the ban on drones accessing 5G high-speed wireless communications networks by fiscal 2024. This development, reported by Nikkei, is set to revolutionise the capabilities of drones, enabling them to transmit higher-definition images for disaster relief and infrastructure inspections.


With the real-time transmission and reception of large amounts of data made possible by 5G, drones will be able to relay 4K high-definition video and other images. Currently, the use of 5G-enabled devices in airspace is prohibited, but the government intends to revise regulations to allow drones to take advantage of this technology.


The implications of this decision are far-reaching. In times of disasters, drones equipped with 5G will be able to transmit high-resolution images, aiding in the swift identification of the extent of flooding or damage to homes. Furthermore, for infrastructure inspections, drone imagery will enable the detection of minor cracks and other problems in hard-to-reach areas such as steel towers and mountainous regions.


The benefits of 5G-enabled drones extend beyond disaster relief and infrastructure inspections. Broadcasting high-definition aerial images during outdoor sporting events, like golf tournaments, is another potential application that could enhance the viewing experience for spectators.


However, there are challenges to overcome. When a drone uses a 5G network, it transmits signals from unobstructed airspace, which can interfere with ordinary cellular phones and cause communication problems. To address this issue, the government aims to establish a method to prevent interference by narrowing down the frequency bands and radio wave output specifically for drone use.


Companies are already exploring various applications for drones. Kao, for instance, is considering field-testing drones in Hyogo prefecture and other areas for transporting cargo weighing 50 kilograms or more over long distances, with a focus on underpopulated regions.


The global market for 5G-enabled drones is projected to expand significantly. According to YH Research, it is expected to grow from $120 million in 2022 to $697 million in 2025, and reach a staggering $2.23 billion in 2029.


There is also optimism that 5G can improve delivery efficiency. Shingo Maeda, a director at the Drone Service Promotion Association, highlighted the potential safety benefits of using 5G for remote drone operations, stating that "in the future, when many drones are operated remotely at the same time, using 5G will be safer."

 
  • Japan plans to end the ban on drones accessing 5G networks by fiscal 2024.

  • 5G-enabled drones will be able to transmit high-definition video and images.

  • Applications include disaster relief, infrastructure inspections, and broadcasting aerial images during sporting events.


Source: NIKKEI ASIA

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