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Beijing launches unmanned 5G patrol vessel to monitor water quality

An unmanned 5G patrol vessel used for water quality monitoring completed its trial voyage in Beijing’s Beihai Park on Wednesday, according to the Xicheng District Commission of Urban Management.  

The high-tech vessel contains sensors to collect real-time data, and HD cameras to detect the conditions of water areas that human eyes cannot reach. 

In the past, water samples were collected by people on the site and then taken to the laboratory for testing. 

“Some waters have complex terrains and hidden drainage outlets, so it is difficult for workers to get access to,” said a staff member of the Xicheng District Commission of Urban Management, adding that water samples collected manually sometimes were not up to scratch due to complicated waterway conditions, resulting in a low monitoring rate. 

“The application of the unmanned vessel can solve those problems,” the person said. 

The bottom of the ship is equipped with a water quality monitor, and real-time water data can be synchronously transmitted to the platform of water quality monitoring.

“The application of the unmanned vessel realizes the monitoring of a whole water area, instead of a fixed point,” said a staff member of Xicheng Ziguang Corporation, which developed the unmanned vessel. The person said the ship can patrol the river continuously for five to six hours after charging for two hours.

A patrolling course can be preset for the ship and be changed anytime. When coming across difficult water terrains, workers on the bank will remotely control the vessel. When encountering an obstacle, the unmanned ship will automatically avoid it by radar scanning; if the obstacle cannot be bypassed, it will immediately brake. 

The vessel is operated with either 4G or 5G signals, with little delay in data transmission. Computers and cell phones can receive the images and data transmitted back by the vessels. 

Two such vessels have been put into use. More will be introduced to the waters in Beijing, such as the moat, Liangshui River, and Shichahai Lake.

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