SK Telecom, Samsung set sail with 5G autonomous navigation platform

The ship’s safe arrival was confirmed using an SK Telecom real-time video monitoring platform.

SK Telecom and Samsung Heavy Industries set sail with their 5G-based autonomous navigation platform, which will allow ships to move and set destinations on their own.

Samsung provided 3.3m craft for the trial, which SK Telecom equipped with LIDAR — a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth — at a shipyard covered by its 5G network. The companies then set the ship’s destination from a control center located 250km away in Daejeon City.

The ship’s safe arrival at the set destination was confirmed using an SKT real-time video monitoring platform. SK Telecom said it successfully recognized and avoided obstacles. They were also able to remotely control and monitor the ship from the control center through using the telco’s 5G network.

Choi Il-gyu, VP and head of SKT’s B2B business office expressed optimism about the results of trial, commenting that it “marks a meaningful step towards commercialization of technologies for autonomous navigation of ships powered by 5G.”

Eventually, SK Telecom and Samsung hope to develop a “5G smart yard” that will improve the safety of ships when sailing in particularly treacherous environments such as narrow waters and near shore.

The plan is for the smart yard to also contain heavy equipment that can be remotely controlled and monitored using 5G networks.
They are also developing an augmented reality platform that will be used to check the goods in containers.

SK Telecom has certainly been all over the map when it comes to developing new use cases for 5G. The carrier has signed deals for 5G smart cities, hospitals and self-driving infrastructure just to name a few.

Last month, the carrier’s CFO Poong-Young Yoon said on a conference call with investors that SK Telecom has reached 1.5 million subscribers in the 5G segment, representing a share of 44% in the local 5G market. He went on to say that the company expects to end this year with over 2 million 5G subscribers, and that by the end of 2020, that number is expected to total 7 million.

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