South Korea’s largest telecommunication company, KT, has announced they have created a futuristic platform that will deploy robots and drones in the case of emergencies and disasters.

The SKYSHIP, as it is called, is basically a large helium-filled flying balloon carrying a pod in which all sorts of hardware are stored ready to save the day – cameras, drones and presumably also the robots.

It has been developed as part of a $US1.5 billion public safety program using a Long Term Evolution (PS-LTE) network that began earlier this year and will be completed in 2020, following the launch of a nationwide 5G network next March.

If deployed, the drones and robots will be controlled by a specialised team working at a mobile communications centre. Rescuers working to find survivors on the ground will have the use of augmented reality (AR) glasses that will enable them to communicate with nearby medical teams and doctors at nearby hospitals.

In addition to the drones and robots, there are also propellants and network modules inside the Skyship Pod, as well as a scanning device – the Skyscan – which is able to detect smartphone signals.

In the case of a disaster, it can link up victims’ smartphone signals to mobile service provider’s databases to find out details of the people the search and rescue teams are looking, such as names and ages.

KT demonstrated how the SKYSHIP will work last week in a real-time disaster simulation. Working with Ajou University Hospital’s trauma center in Gyeonggi province, south of Seoul, and a local 119 emergency rescue team, a ‘survivor’ was located by the SKYSHIP and a rescue team then used the AR glasses to perform emergency procedures.

Using the 5G network, the team shared data with renowned surgeon Professor Lee Guk-Jong, who communicated with them remotely to inform the team members of steps to check the victims health and how to conduct appropriate medical treatment.

To assist in search and rescue operations, KT collaborated with a local drone developer, Metismake Inc.to create a drone that can fly up to six hours and carry up to 5 kilograms.

They are also equipped with cameras to record 4K UHD video which can then be transmitted through the 5G network to give rescue teams accurate vision from the sky.

“Skyship can fly unmanned drones up to 100 kilometers away from a control center, which is up to 20 times farther than conventional drones,” says Oh Seong-mok, president of the network business at KT.

With SKYSHIP, KT have shown their commitment to the safety of the South Korean people. “Over the past years, KT has pioneered technological innovations in the field of disaster and safety management in South Korea,” said Oh Seong-Mok, president of KT’s network business. “We will continue our efforts as the ‘People’s Company’ to make the country safer and more secure with our advanced technological prowess, resources and know-how.”