AT&T and Intel are working together to equip drones with LTE technology, allowing them to fly farther away from their users.
As everyone knows, LTE is mainly used for mobile phones, tablets and whatnot. This time around, the pair will take the wireless communication up to the sky, first testing on an altitude of up to 500-foot high, which complies with the Federal Aviation Administration's rules. They will see how it performs in terms of video streaming, transmitting telematics and flight information.
The companies believe that LTE is the solution to the current safety issues, particularly preventing the signals that connect the drone and the pilot from affecting any manned aircraft. In the future, the technology is expected to allow drones to go beyond the line of sight of the pilot.
To put two and two together, a drone that can fly without the restraint of staying within the radius from the pilot while also offering high-quality video streaming will let drone enthusiasts reach virtually any place that has LTE coverage.
The carrier points out that agriculture, construction, delivery and insurance industries will particularly benefit from this, where pilots will be able to fly and navigate drone fleets across the sky from an office.
"Our LTE network is uniquely positioned to connect industries like delivery, agriculture, construction and insurance. We're using the network to transfer important information, images and video quickly and efficiently - far beyond the boundaries of short range connectivity," says Chris Penrose, senior VP of IoT Solutions at AT&T.
Intel has decided to carry out the first tests with the Yuneec Typhoon H, a drone that's already equipped with the company's RealSense cameras, allowing the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to recognize its surroundings and avoid collision while in the air. According to Intel, it will stream video and transmit telematics.
Intel will showcase the Yuneec Typhoon H at the 2016 Mobile World Congress.
In other UAV-related news, a team of scientists are developing search-and-rescue drones that will be capable of helping lost hikers find their way home, clearly giving an idea of what advancements are possible with the technology.