Ericsson and the Aerial Experimentation and Research Platform for Advanced Wireless (AERPAW), funded by the National Science Foundation and a consortium of industry partners, have announced a collaboration on advancing the use of 5G for drone operations in support of smart agriculture. In a demonstration hosted at North Carolina State University, the AERPAW team, part of the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program, equipped a custom drone with a connected camera and local compute capacity to monitor a field of cattle for information on grazing patterns.
Footage from the remote field was streamed over a 5G connection enabled by an Ericsson base station and cloud packet core network. The demonstration operated at 3.4 GHz using 100 MHz of spectrum. Uplink speeds exceeded 100 Mb/s and more than 450 Mb/s in the downlink. 5G provides the capabilities needed to sustain high-quality video streaming, support remote interaction and enable analytics at the edge through communication with a local compute-enabled network node. Use cases include agriculture solutions such as animal monitoring and tracking, but also delivery of supplies and objects for commercial use, improved air traffic control under FAA, and command and control of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over cellular links.