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SKT innovates cell tower safety inspection with AI

SK Telecom announced that it developed and applied a system that checks the safety of cell towers using drones and image analysis AI.

Developed by SKT’s in-house experts, the image analysis AI model 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. And since these cell towers require periodic maintenance to prevent accidents caused by deterioration, such as corrosion or loosening of bolts and nuts, specialized personnel had to climb up the cell 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 also can secure the safety of these personnel by minimizing the need to go up the cell towers.

Moreover, the company can drive up 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 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.

Going forward, SKT plans to keep advancing the intelligent safety inspection system for cell towers by adding inspection items such as wind pressure safety/inclination, further improving the AI model and linking it with the safety management system.

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.

“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.”

CT Bureau

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