Vodafone and Ericsson to employ drones to speed up network upgrades

Vodafone and Ericsson will use DJI Mavic Pro 2 drones to speed up site surveys, which will in turn accelerate network upgrades.

The use of drones gives both companies a new sense of perspective, with a combination of high-definition photography and Lidar technology building 3D models of sites – which in turn helps make for a more efficient planning process.

A Leica BLK360 Lidar camera captures 360,000 laser points per second to create a high definition 3D digital twin model of a site

Vodafone and Ericsson will use data from 70 different sites due to be upgraded, saving time and money, as well as reducing their carbon footprints.

With only one engineer required to attend a site to carry out surveys, it helps Vodafone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data fed back following each survey can be shared via remotely attended virtual meetings.

“The introduction of new technology to improve our processes has significant benefits for our own operational efficiencies and reducing our carbon footprint, but it also allows us to deliver on our promise to customers faster. The less time, which is wasted travelling to sites, the more time can be invested in valuable tasks that improve the digital experience for our customers.”

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK

“Our partnership with Vodafone to explore the benefits of Intelligent Site Engineering ensures that speed and sustainability are at the heart of our network rollout in the UK together. This is a demonstration of our rapid network delivery capabilities and our commitment to build a world-class digital infrastructure that will bring vital 5G connectivity to new regions, boost innovation and provide a foundation for the UK’s future economic success.”

Björn Odenhammar, CTO, Networks & Managed Services, Ericsson UK & Ireland

Both companies also intend to use this new form of surveying to locate new sites for future network expansion.


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