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AT&T tests drones on its LTE network to prepare for deliveries

Engadget logo Engadget 6/09/2016 Devindra Hardawar
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If you want drones to deliver packages and food to your doorstep in the future, they'll need to break free of the limitations of WiFi. That's one major reason why AT&T is gearing up to test drones on its LTE 4G network, which are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon Flight platform. As you can imagine, it'll involve figuring out how to ensure drones stay connected to AT&T's network, even when they're beyond operators' line of sight. On top of deliveries, the carrier says its testing could also let drones tackle things like inspections, rescues and exploration.

"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," said Qualcomm CTO Matt Grob in a statement.

AT&T will kick off the drone tests this month at Qualcomm's San Diego headquarters, which houses an FAA-approved drone Flight Center. That'll allow it to see how the drones work in a variety of environments, including residential, commercial, barren and FAA-controlled spaces.

PR Newswire

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