Today, most drone operations are still controlled by a pilot in line of sight, but many applications become possible or economically interesting when drones can perform their tasks autonomously. One of the main technical challenges in getting these applications off the ground is fast and reliable communication between the drones themselves and to the ground control station. This allows a pilot to oversee several drones and take control when the autonomous functions are in trouble.
This spring, the Icon project “Validated Architectures using 5G for teleoperation and collaborative operation” or “ValArch5G” for short, will be launched.
The aim of the project is to test the quality of a 5G network in more challenging circumstances, such as an industrial setting or an offshore application. The aim is to accelerate the development and introduction of autonomous vehicles for a wide range of applications.
The possibilities are being investigated, for example, to control drones remotely on the one hand and to let them avoid areas with a poor network on the other. A future example of this could be a flying drone and an autonomous ship sharing their sensor information and coordinating movements to enable an accurate landing on the ship.
Accelleran, e-BO Enterprises, Bekaert, GEOxyz, Flanders Make and imec IDLab are joining forces to this end until mid-2024.