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Samsung wants to use drones to maintain 5G towers

Field engineers have used AI drones to check cell towers on the company's campus.

Samsung demonstrates a drone-based AI system for maintaining 5G towers. 

Samsung said Monday that it successfully demonstrated a new system using drone-based artificial intelligence to measure antenna configurations for 4G and 5G network towers.

Cellular antennas are usually installed at great heights on towers and rooftops. When the antenna needs maintenance, field engineers have to climb up these tall cell towers. By using drones to maintain towers, Samsung aims to offer operators an easier way to manage cell sites, increase employee safety and improve network performance. 

Samsung said that the system, which it demonstrated at its campus, lets field engineers use smartphones to remotely fly a camera-equipped drone that can take pictures of the tower's antenna. AI then verifies the position of the antenna making sure it's been installed correctly at the right rotation and tilt. 

"As the number of 5G network sites grows, there has been a heightened focus on network performance by operators, and we are seeing an increased market demand for intelligent solutions for site maintenance," Sohyong Chong, Samsung's vice president and head of network automation, said in a release.

5G is the next generation of cellular technology. It promises to up the speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks. While Samsung may be best known for its 5G phones, the company also makes telecom equipment that powers 5G networks. Samsung provides 4G and 5G network services to US Cellular, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint

Samsung plans to add features that will allow engineers to remotely adjust the antenna from a mobile device and PC instead of having to climb up the tower. The company said it'll launch the drone-based solution globally later this year.