South Korean mobile operator KT has launched a 5G platform for disaster and safety management. Dubbed ‘SkyShip’, the platform operates a special aircraft and a mobile communication center to remotely control drones and robots that carry out search and rescue operations for disaster survivors. Rescuers on the ground are also assisted with augmented reality (AR) glasses that have a direct line of communication to doctors at nearby hospitals for assistance delivering emergency treatment.
KT demonstrated SkyShip in real time through a disaster simulation. The platform facilitated a remote search and rescue in conjunction with Ajou University Hospital’s trauma center in Gyeonggi province, south of Seoul, and a local 119 emergency rescue team. The location of a disaster survivor was identified by the SkyShip platform, and a rescue squad then used AR eyewear to carry out necessary emergency procedures. Through KT’s LTE network, the rescue squad was able to instantly share data and communicate with renowned surgeon Professor Lee Guk-Jong, enabling the doctor to check the survivor’s heath status and conduct remote treatments from the trauma center.
The SkyShip platform consists of four major components, including the Skyship new-concept aircraft of combining an airship and a drone; the Skyship C3 (Command, Control, Communication) Station, a mobile ground control station; and the Skyship Drone and Skyship Robot, drones and robots developed and installed in Skyship.
The new aircraft is made of three main parts. There is an airship filled with helium gas; the Skyship Pod, which carries core hardware items including propellants, cameras, network modules and drones; and Signal scanning, which detects smartphone signals and synchronizes them with mobile operators’ customer database to identify personal information pertaining to survivors, such as names and ages.
Image scanning by Signal scanning, which uses an ultra-small LTE device, is designed to check the presence of survivors within a 50-meter radius, thereby narrowing the search area for faster rescues. When survivors are detected, Skyship will deploy drones to pinpoint their exact locations. Robots will then be dispatched on the ground to deliver emergency relief items, relay information to rescuers and take first-aid measures until rescuers arrive.
KT also plans to standardize the hardware requirements for Skyship Pod. Third-party manufacturers will be able to develop various network modules, cameras, drones and other installable products.
KT collaborated with local drone maker Metismake to develop its latest Skyship 2, an advanced version of its first Skyship introduced last year. The new aircraft was designed in an airfoil developed by the US National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It can fly up to six hours with a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour, withstand 13 meter-per-second winds and carry a payload of up to five kilograms, KT also said.