SK Telecom uses AI for cell tower safety inspection

SK Telecom has developed and applied a system that checks the safety of cell towers using drones and image analysis AI.
SK Telecom uses AI for Cell Tower safety inspection
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 across the nation reach a height of up to 75 meters. These cell towers require maintenance to prevent accidents caused by deterioration, such as corrosion or loosening of bolts and nuts. Technology employees climb up the cell towers or study the images of cell towers taken by drones to visually check the conditions.

SK Telecom can improve productivity through the application of an AI model that identifies defects by analyzing images taken by drones. Previously, safety inspectors study around 100 images to complete safety inspection of one cell tower. The adoption of AI analysis model assists SK Telecom to reduce the time required for the process by 95 percent, while increasing the reliability and consistency of the analysis results.

SK Telecom 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.

SK Telecom 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.

“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,” said Park Myung-soon, SKT’s Vice President and Head of Infra DT Office.