Surveillance Drones Can Now Transmit 4K Video

Criminals beware; millimeter wave communication means that surveillance drones can now transmit high-resolution video in real-time.

AsianScientist (Jul. 12, 2019) – Security management company SECOM and Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have developed a millimeter wave wireless communication system that enables long distance communication, using it to transmit 4K uncompressed video in real-time from a drone.

Cameras mounted on drones have produced stunning images of scenery and city scapes, but wide area surveillance requires real-time transmission of high-definition video, a capability that most drones lack. Millimeter wave wireless communication—which is expected to be used in 5G because of its high speed—is one possible solution, but the communication distance is limited due to large attenuation of radio waves.

To get around this limitation, the researchers used a lens antenna developed by Intel. Lens antennas enable long distance communication by narrowing the emission angle of radio waves. However, they have not been used for drones due to their size and weight. To address this problem, the team developed a video transmission system with a millimeter wave wireless communication device that uses a small, lightweight lens antenna that can be mounted on a drone. With it, they realized real-time transmission of 4K uncompressed video. Delay using the system is also dramatically reduced compared to conventional compressed transmission.

In their tests, the team was able to use a drone to take video in 4K and transmit the video in real time from over 100 m in the air to an access point on the ground. This technology enables the provision of security services in various fields, such as stadium security and infrastructure monitoring by drones.


Source: Tokyo Institute of Technology; Photo: Shutterstock.
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