The City of Helsinki’s construction service Stara and the Helsinki Rescue Department is testing a 5G drone service to streamline environmental management and rescue service in the Finnish capital while also reducing its CO2 emissions.

The trials have been taking place this month in cooperation with the City of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki. They will test a service provided by Elisa and Vertical Hobby that utilizes a 5G network and high-quality 360 live video broadcasting system. The service was selected in June for Forum Virium’s Drone-as-a-service programme as part of the Low Carbon Drone Service Solutions in Southern Finland project.

Stara is experimenting with the drone service through surveillance of natural areas such as forests and nature reserves. Uses for the drone include the study of the condition of the forest after storm damage, mapping of beach rose deposits in the archipelago and the location of the city benches of Suomenlinna.

Drone can be used for surveys after storms or oil spills

The rescue service will test the drone service at the end of September within the installation of oil spill booms and for situational awareness. The drone has a capable of payload of up to 20 kilogrammes enabling it to replace some manned flights.

The service will enable the city to assess storm damage and assist with speedy repairs using both the drone and 360-live image feed. The live image can be monitored simultaneously by several different parties from their offices. The service will save on distance travelled as duplication of work, and as a result, remedial measures start even faster and CO2 emissions are reduced.

The drone service can also be used to monitor construction sites, identify risks in real time using artificial intelligence, and search for safe landing sites by identifying people and pets moving in the area.

Drone sends high precision 8k quality video in real time

Elisa’s 5G network, enables high-precision 8K-quality 360 video to be sent from the air to terminals in real time. The solution utilises Elisa’s on premises edge computing solution for stitching and encoding the live video stream. Prreviously, lower quality videos have usually had to be made shooting from a manned small plane or helicopter. The live image produced by the drone service can also be monitored from multiple locations by multiple personnel at the same time from different angles and perspectives.

The low-carbon drone service solutions project in Southern Finland is funded by the Federation of Uusimaa from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The experiment seeks carbon-neutral solutions that support the Carbon-Neutral Helsinki 2035 action plan. Elisa also seeks to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of 2020. The company’s mission is to build a sustainable future through digitalisation and the development of low-carbon services.

Image: University of Helsinki

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