SECOM and Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) jointly developed a millimetre wave wireless communication system that enables long distance communication, and succeeded in transmitting 4K uncompressed video in real time from a drone.
SECOM is focusing on the use of wireless communication technology for drones on services for securing wide area facilities by drones. Wide area surveillance with drone requires real time transmission of high definition video such as uncompressed 4K videos providing the professional resolution, for rapid and accurate analyses.
Millimetre wave wireless communication is expected to be used in 5G because of the high-speed communication, but there is a problem that communication distance is limited due to large attenuation of radio waves. Tokyo Tech has been working on millimetre wave wireless communication systems including 5G-MiEdge project. The research results from 5G-MiEdge project were applied for design and development of the video transmission over millimetre wave wireless links.
In fact, SECOM and Tokyo Tech have been conducting joint research since 2018 under the framework of the SOFTech Consortium for the development of a millimetre-wave wireless communication device capable of long-distance transmission of images using a lens antenna developed by Intel.
Lens antennas enable long distance communication by narrowing the emission angle of radio waves. However, they have not been used for drones due to their size and weight. To address this problem, the engineering team from SECOM and Tokyo Tech developed a video transmission system with a millimetre wave wireless communication device that uses a small, lightweight lens antenna that can be mounted on a drone. With it, they realized real-time transmission of 4K uncompressed video. Delay using the system is also dramatically reduced compared to conventional compressed transmission.
In their tests, the team was able to use a drone to take video in 4K and transmit the video in real time from over 100 m in the air to an access point on the ground. This technology enables the provision of “safe and secure” services in various fields, such as stadium security, and infrastructure monitoring by drones. A video of the test shows a drone equipped with a millimeter-wave wireless communication device using a small and lightweight lens antenna transmits 4K uncompressed video in real time from an altitude of 100 m to an access point on the ground.
In common video transmission schemes, the encoding and decoding is employed due to the limited bandwidth, but this process also causes large transmission delay. In order to address this issue the team proposed a super-high-resolution uncompressed video transmission from drones using 60GHz band. The delay time is shortened by omitting the encode and decode.
These drones mounted with millimetre wave wireless communication device that use small lightweight lens antenna can be utilized for various applications (e.g., video monitoring, surveillance, delivering items, rescue operation), among which the super-high-resolution video monitoring using drone footage is especially attractive. Real-time transmission is required in many application scenarios, such as live sports broadcast and monitoring. And SECOM and Tokyo Tech’s jointly developed millimetre wave wireless communication system mounted on a drone seems to be the solution for enables long distance communication, as of now.
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