Auterion, NTT e-Drone Technology Collaborating on Drone Fleets in Japan

Auterion and NTT e-Drone Technology are working together to create drones designed to advance smart farming and infrastructure management in Japan.

Through the partnership, NTT e-Drone will produce the Skynode based Flight controller and Mission computer, a drone control device developed and provided by Auterion in Japan, according to a news release. The device will be installed into drones developed by NTT e-Drone that feature LTE, 5G support, remote control and autonomous navigation. The software-defined e-drones send data directly to the cloud in real-time, creating real-time responses that enable a more efficient workflow.

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NTT e-Drone operates Suite, a drone operation management system developed and provided by Auterion on a server in Japan.

The goal of the alliance is to accelerate the social implementation of drones in areas such as agriculture, inspection, surveying and disaster countermeasures by adding functions for the Japanese market. Various Japanese companies and regional governments will be able to easily access Auterion’s advanced open-source platform for drones.

“We will promote the introduction and implementation of new technologies from NTT laboratories and partner companies. Additionally, we will conduct planning and execution of disaster countermeasures, security and efficient procurement of facilities,” NTT’s Senior Vice President, Head of Technology Planning Atsuko Oka said, according to the release. “In these efforts, development and utilization of safe and secure drones is an especially important issue. This strategic alliance between Auterion and NTT e-Drone is expected to accelerate the resolution of this issue, and we would like to support them.”

NTT e-Drone will deploy Vector made by Quantum Systems and Vesper made by Vantage Robotics equipped with Auterion’s technology. Auterion will eventually handle next-generation drones similarly equipped with Auterion software, which are being developed by NTT e-Drone.

The partnership’s software-defined drones using NTT’s network will enable Japan’s agriculture and climate experts to examine data and provide analysis and advice to farmers in real-time, even in remote areas.

“Experts who can relay best practices and troubleshoot urgent issues for rural farmers, without the need for time-consuming travel over great distances, will help those farmers increase yields,” said Lorenz Meier, co-founder and CEO of Auterion, according to the release. “With widespread deployment of smart farming drone fleets, Japan may even surpass its 45% food sustainability goal in the next few years.”

The alliance will advance the use of drones in infrastructure inspections and surveying across industries as well.

“The automation of infrastructure inspection with scalable drone fleets in Japan is a major step in achieving scaled, data-driven management of critical infrastructure that fixes what’s broken,” Meier said, according to the release. “While you cannot have 10,000 expert infrastructure inspectors in the field, you can have 10,000 drones delivering data in real-time to a handful of experts in the office using powerful analysis software. The end result is more efficient, expansive and safer physical spaces per the vision laid out in Japan’s Society 5.0.”