A smart city uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare. But how can drones help with the practical implementation? Mark Vanlook, CEO of DronePort invited Peter Vandeurzen, cluster manager of Smart Cities Vlaanderen and other keynote speakers such as Frank Van Welkenhuyzen, Gino Van den Ven, Marc Bellinkx and Ward Van Ooteghem, to discuss this interesting topic.

The assistance of drones

Emergency services are aware that drones and new AI technologies can assist them in their work. Mark Bellinkx from law enforcement zone Carma, explained how police are already using drones since 2011. The police are using their own drones for orthophotography and 3D images. This way they can keep an eye in the sky for possible danger. In 2017 police and firefighters trained 12 men to become drone pilots, this year they will give another training between April and September.

Private network

But how can the police ensure good connectivity even when they are flying the drone beyond visual line of sight? Citymesh explained that during an event, drones can lose their connectivity because there are too many people using the same public network. That’s why Citymesh partnered up with Nokia to ensure a 5G private network called LTE network. Antwerp is already using the LTE network for multiple big events, so the drones can keep transmitting 4K images without interference. These networks are interesting for emergency services who need a clear live stream but also to keep their footage private without sharing it with an operator.

Drones can be used as a service in Smart Cities. They can assist firefighters, police, delivery services and many more sectors. How will this integrated network of drones look like? That’s a question only the future can tell if we start to invest in it.

20190312 - Workshop drones in Smart Cities

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