Qualcomm’s drone platform will be used to test network reliability for piloting beyond line of sight.
The trials will test coverage, signal strength and mobility across network cells and how the small unmanned aircraft function in flight to make possible capabilities such as flying beyond an operator’s line of sight, according to Qualcomm.
Testing will start this month, based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight drone development platform, which was previewed in January at CES 2016. The chipmaker says its FAA-blessed test environment simulates real-world environments including commercial and residential areas and FAA-controlled airspace.
Interesting story so I dug out some more detail from some recent press releases:
“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,” said Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “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.”
“Many of the anticipated benefits of drones, including delivery, inspections and search and rescue will require a highly secure and reliable connection,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, IoT Solutions, AT&T. “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.”
The UAS trials will be based on the Qualcomm® Snapdragon Flight™ drone development platform, which is designed to offer superior control and navigation capabilities. Already in use in some commercially available drones, the platform offers 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 Qualcomm platform was introduced at CES 2016 with the very snappy video.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight drone development platform is a SoC (system on a chip) for drones. It features a quad-core 2.26GHz processor, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GNSS support, real-time flight control, stereo cameras and 4K video.
AT&T had previoulsy announced LTE testing with Intel.