September 13, 2016 –
Qualcomm and AT&T will test drones on commercial LTE networks in an effort to analyze how they can operate safely and more securely, it was announced during last week’s CTIA Super Mobility Week.
The team will look at coverage, signal, strength and mobility across network cells as well as how the drones function in flight. The goal of the trials and ongoing research is to help enable future drone operations, such as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), when regulations allow. The ability permit to fly beyond an operator’s visual range could enable successful delivery, remote inspection and exploration. Wireless technology can bring many advantages to drones such as ubiquitous coverage, high-speed mobile support, security, reliability and quality of service.
“Not only do we aim to analyze wide-scalable LTE optimization for safe, legal commercial small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) use cases with beyond line-of-sight connectivity, but the results can help inform positive developments in drone regulations and 5G specifications as they pertain to wide-scale deployment of numerous drone use cases.” said Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies.
Back in February, AT&T and Intel agreed to do many of the same tests that AT&T will be executing with Qualcomm. The AT&T Internet of Things team and the AT&T Foundry innovation center in Palo Alto, Calif., will be working with Intel to evaluate performance of the LTE network at higher altitudes to see how it affects video streaming, transmitting telematics and flight information.
“Connecting drones over the network will help address many challenges the category faces, including safety and security concerns, real time communications, potential interference with manned aircraft and supporting future capabilities (such as beyond line of sight), as they are approved by the FAA,” the carrier said in a press release.