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Auterion to develop open-source drones with Japanese telecom company

Auterion to develop open-source drones with Japanese telecom company

The Japanese Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) is one of the largest telecom companies in the world. The company makes extensive use of drones to inspect critical infrastructure such as cell towers and cabling along bridges. Until now, this was mainly done with drones from China but fearing cyber espionage, the company is now developing its own open-source drones.

Auterion to develop open-source drones with Japanese telecom company

The Japanese government wants to end the use of Chinese drones by 2022. Not only government organizations will switch to other systems, but many companies are now also studying alternatives. The problem is that there are few or no suitable systems of Japanese origin, telecom company NTT found.

For this reason, the new business unit NTT e-Drone Technology was established. Within this business unit, new drones and applications will be developed, not only for use by NTT but also for other commercial drone users. Sectors the department focuses on are industrial inspections, agriculture, surveying, public safety, and incident management.

Open-source drones

What is special is that they opt for open source technology. To this end, NTT has entered into a partnership with the Swiss company Auterion. Not only will NTT operate a drone operations management system developed by Auterion, but the drones developed by NTT will also be equipped with Auterion’s Skynode flight controller. In time, the drones will support LTE, 5G, remote control, and autonomous navigation.

In the long run, open-source drones should be able to be deployed even above the most remote areas to collect data. Autonomy plays a major role in this. According to those involved, thousands of drones can collect real-time data thanks to powerful analysis software to monitor critical infrastructure and provide farmers with up-to-date information.

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Auterion to develop open-source drones with Japanese telecom company

Also outside Japan

The idea is that the open-source drones developed by NTT will also become available to operators in other countries. Auterion will also play a role in this: the company will also market the ‘powered by Auterion’ drones outside Japan as part of the collaboration.

To learn more about the open-source drones from Auterion watch our interview with Romeo Durscher below.

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This article first appeared on Dronewatch and is written by Wiebe de Jager who is also a DroneXL contributor.

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