Ericsson and AERPAW Run 5G Demonstration to Monitor Cattle

Tech firm Ericsson and AERPAW have together conducted a 5G demo to monitor the cattle in North Caroline, USA. The use case successfully helped check on the behavior of animals across a large pasture. 

Ericsson collaborated with researchers at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, and devised a way to use 5G for unique experimentation. The research involved a drone monitoring a field of cattle with much more efficiency.

 “It’s all in the name of smart agriculture. Ericsson and the Aerial Experimentation and Research Platform for Advanced Wireless (AERPAW), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as a consortium of industry partners,” announced the collaboration on Tuesday.

It was a unique occasion for both Ericsson and AERPAW. The demonstration was hosted at North Carolina State University. The AERPAW team which is part of the PAWR initiative employed a custom drone with a broadband-equipped camera and local computing capacity. The researchers monitored a pasture with cattle and gathered data on their grazing patterns.

The footage was streamed over a 5G non-standalone (NSA) by Ericsson cell tower and Ericsson Cloud Packet Core network. The connection used 100 MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum. The frequency was acquired via AERPAW’s program license.

The NSA 5G pulled 450 Mbps download speed and clocked 100 Mbps for upload.

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Smart Agriculture is one key application area of 5G

 “Smart agriculture will likely represent a very large growth segment for UAVs in the next decade,” said Mihail L. Sichitiu from AERPAW in a press release. “And field testing at sites like AERPAW is critical both for exploring what’s possible and for ensuring operational safety. Only a drone under constant monitoring and control is a safe drone.”

And the high-speed broadband monitoring was not expensive either. Sichitiu said the costs for the experiment were fairly low-cost. He also maintained that monitoring a large field in person is not convenient, therefore, a 5 G-connected drone monitoring could be the next handy tool for farmers.

“Monitoring with drones can make the process easier and more efficient,” Sichitiu said.

Drone with 5G
Credit: YouTube/US Ignite

Similar demonstrations could be held repeatedly to conclude the grazing patterns of the cattle. The system could also use additional capabilities to point out new patterns, he added.

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The video from the demo indicated which areas have been well-grazed, how long it takes for cattle to consume grass and which part of the pasture attracts them the most. Over the period, it could also show how long it takes for the field to recover its greener.

5G connectivity brings unchartered use cases for varieties of industries. Ericsson says that beyond monitoring the animals, 5G can also be used to track the delivery of goods, traffic control, and control of unmanned aerial vehicles, etc.

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