ITRI Introduces Remotely-Operated Autonomous Drone (ROAD) at CES 2017, Booth #2015

ITRI’s ICT Solution for Drones remotely controls and charges multiple LTE-connected drones for fleet management from any distance, even across continents, and can operate off-grid

LAS VEGAS — (BUSINESS WIRE) — January 4, 2017CES 2017 – Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan's largest and one of the world's leading high-tech applied research institutions, today announced it will introduce and demonstrate its ICT Solution for Drones at CES 2017. ITRI invites potential partners and attendees to booth #2015, Tech East, Westgate, to view the drone fleet management system enabling drones to be managed and charged from any distance. A video demo of the ICT Solution for Drones is available here: https://youtu.be/JP3nByX_z9Y.

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ITRI's ICT Solution for Drones features three cameras, unlimited range via LTE, and off-grid operati ...

ITRI's ICT Solution for Drones features three cameras, unlimited range via LTE, and off-grid operation. (Photo: Business Wire)

ITRI’s ICT Solution for Drones delivers world-leading ability to control more than one LTE-connected drone from one fleet management system; to integrate the operation of multiple drones; and unlimited range even across continents via LTE, a vast improvement over current remote control ranges of under seven kilometers within visual line-of-sight.

The potential applications of ITRI’s ICT Solution for Drones include aerial photography; security patrol; solar panel, wind turbine, and power line inspection; landslide inspection; and transport. In a solar panel inspection, for example, ITRI’s ICT Solution for Drones would enable a fleet of drones to detect hot-spot heating on solar panels in solar farms, which can include millions of solar panels across thousands of acres, well beyond the range of remote-control drones but easily within the range of LTE. An aerial inspection would reduce the possibility of hot spots caused by dust or leaves that may result in permanent damage to a solar panel. In a landslide inspection application, ITRI’s ICT Solution for Drones would enable a fleet of drones to survey landslide conditions beyond visual line-of-sight to help save lives.

A May, 2016 global report on the commercial applications of drone technology by PwC, “ Clarity from Above,” estimates the addressable value of industrial drone solutions at $127B.

ITRI’s ICT Solution for Drones includes three components:

  • Remotely-Operated Autonomous Drone (ROAD), which can engage in intercontinental out-of-sight operation throughout the world using LTE. The ROAD features a fail-safe communications system that includes disconnection recovery; three control channels (cellular network, 2.4 GHz remote control, and 915 MHz long-range telemetry); emergency handover between control channels; emergency landing capability; the ability to fly away from LTE dead zones. An Intelligent multiple-flight fleet management system integrates drone flight data and three streaming cameras; allows the user to select the drone to control; and simultaneously displays the positions of all drones on a map.
  • Tribrid Real-Time Streaming for Drone: A heterogeneous multi-video streaming platform provides hybrid data streaming of three cameras over LTE: first person view (FPV); 30x optical zoom high-definition eagle-view surveillance; and a thermal camera for inspection and night vision.
  • Super Range: In addition to intercontinental remote operation over LTE, the ROAD can operate autonomously for certain periodic patrolling tasks in extended areas over a month by the recharging system, which includes an automatic stabilized landing stage; a charging safety subsystem monitor; support for versatile power sources such as a highly efficient direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) power module, regular power line, or DC sources from solar cells or other generators; and an additional buffering system for continuous and stable charging supply for the drone.

"ITRI’s ICT Solution for Drones is a promising drone fleet management system, which can operate across continents and off-grid for extended periods, and solves the technical issues of range, control and charging associated with drone fleet management,” said Tsung-Hsien Chen, manager of ITRI’s Information and Communication Research Laboratories. “We are looking forward to introducing and demonstrating our world-leading drone fleet management system at CES 2017.”

About ITRI

Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is one of the world’s leading technology R&D institutions aiming to innovate a better future for society. Founded in 1973, ITRI has played a vital role in transforming Taiwan's industries from labor-intensive into innovation-driven. It focuses on the fields of Smart Living, Quality Health, and Sustainable Environment.

Over the years, ITRI has cultivated more than 140 CEOs and incubated over 240 innovative companies, including well-known names such as UMC and TSMC. In addition to its headquarters in Taiwan, ITRI has branch offices in the U.S., Europe, and Japan in an effort to extend its R&D scope and promote opportunities for international cooperation around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.itri.org/eng .

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