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THE INVESTOR
December 10, 2018
Big Reunion

Mobile & Internet

KT fuses drones, robots, network for hi-tech rescue operations

  • PUBLISHED :June 25, 2018 - 14:41
  • UPDATED :June 25, 2018 - 15:29
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[THE INVESTOR] WONJU (Gangwon Province) -- “Utilizing network technologies like LTE in rescue operations is something I thought was possible only in theory, but it has become a reality,” said Lee Guk-jong, a surgeon from Ajou University Hospital after he participated in a simulated rescue mission using KT’s public safety network Skyship platform in Wonju, Gangwon Province, on June 25.

Lee is a star surgeon in Korea, known for conducting surgeries for high-profile patients, including a North Korean defector who was severely wounded while crossing the border across the demilitarized zone in November last year.

The network platform, based on KT’s nationwide telecommunication satellite, landline and microwave network coverage, is designed to help first responders conduct rescue operations in a more effective and safer manner. It’s compatible with both LTE and 5G networks, and embraces a range of emerging technologies, including airships, drones, wheeled robots and augmented reality goggles.




“KT has been trying to lead the public safety network segment by developing relevant technologies for the past few years,” said Oh Seong-mok, head of the firm’s network division. “KT’s capacity and know-how will help make the nation safer.”

The telco has also joined forces with local drone maker Metismake to create an unmanned helium-filled airship consisting of Skyship Pod -- a body part that can be loaded with different types of devices needed in rescue missions -- and Skycan, a telecommunications module. Controlled from a mobile command station, the airship can be deployed as soon as rescue units receive emergency calls.

High-definition thermal cameras fitted under the fuselage, are used to detect those in danger, and the body of the unit can be installed with cameras or other digital devices developed by any third-party developers, according to the company. On the underside of the main body is Skyscan, which detects mobile phone signals from people in need of rescue.

Small drones loaded inside a box attached to the airship are dispatched after the recue team identifies the exact location of the victims while four-wheeled vehicles, which carry first aid kits, are sent to a place that is inaccessible for human emergency responders on the ground. Equipped with communication tools and cameras, the robot allows rescue units to communicate with the victims directly and check their condition.

The rescue units can live stream video of an operation via AR goggles to the hospital where doctors can quickly assess the health conditions of the victims and direct the rescue group on how to treat them.

The safety network platform will run on the 5G when the next-generation is in place in the next couple years.

“By 2025, KT will continue to invest in the public safety network sector, developing new types of airships that carry up to eight drones, and have longer transmission range and light time,” Oh said.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)

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