SK Telecom has developed and applied a system that checks the safety of cell towers using drones and image analysis AI.
The image analysis AI model, which was developed by SKT’s in-house experts, is capable of determining the status of bolts and nuts by analyzing images taken by drones.
Cell towers equipped with transmitting and receiving antennas are installed all across the nation and reach a height of up to 75 meters. Since these cell towers require periodic maintenance to prevent accidents caused by deterioration, such as corrosion or loosening of bolts and nuts, specialized personnel have traditionally had to climb the towers or study the images of cell towers taken by drones to visually check the conditions.
Now, with the intelligent safety inspection system in place, SKT can not only prevent accidents due to aging cell towers but can also secure the safety of these personnel by minimizing their need to go up the cell towers.
Moreover, the company boosts work productivity through the application of an AI model that automatically identifies defects by analyzing images taken by drones. Previously, safety inspectors had to study around 100 images to complete the safety inspection of one cell tower. With the adoption of this AI analysis model, SKT was able to reduce the time required for the process by 95% while increasing the reliability and consistency of the analysis results.
“By building an intelligent safety inspection system that can complement the existing visual inspection, we have secured greater safety for workers,” said Park Myung-soon, SKT’s vice president and head of Infra DT Office. “We will continue to make efforts to achieve AI transformation of our telecommunication networks while focusing on developing our field workers into experts who can develop and operate AI.”
In addition to the drone-based intelligent safety inspection system, SKT is also actively applying AI to all areas related to its telecommunications networks, including equipment error/anomaly detection, power cost reduction, and work completion inspection.