Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) and AT&T are prepared to test the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones, on commercial 4G LTE networks. The trials will begin later this month at Qualcomm Technologies’ San Diego Campus, announces a release from Qualcomm.
In the test, various parameters on the safety of UAS, coverage, signal, strength and mobility across network cells and how they function in flight, etc. will be analyzed. The test will scrutinize various elements that would impact the drone operations in future, especially on its ability to fly beyond an operator’s visual range.
Commenting on the trial, Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, QTI said, “The trial with a carrier with the reach and technology of AT&T is a significant step in the development of connectivity technologies for small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS), including optimization of LTE networks and advancement of 5G technology for drones.”
“Not only do we aim to analyze wide-scalable LTE optimization for safe, legal commercial 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,” Grob added.
“With a focus on both regulatory and commercial needs, LTE connectivity has the potential to deliver optimal flight plans, transmit flight clearances, track drone location and adjust flight routes in near real-time. Solving for the connectivity challenges of complex flight operations is an essential first step to enabling how drones will work in the future,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, IoT Solutions, AT&T.
The UAS trials will be based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone development platform, which is already used in some commercially available drones. It provides a high fidelity sensor processing, precise localization, autonomous visual navigation and 4K videography all in an integrated, light-weight model suitable for consumers and enterprises.
The trial will take place at QTI’s FAA-authorized UAS Flight Center and test environment where it will include the “real world” scenarios. The trial will not affect AT&T’s everyday network operations.