A flying COW (“mobile on wings”)  is offering a 5G community in areas with restricted infrastructure and after pure disasters. The know-how convergence of drones and 5G is an fascinating take a look at case for speedy, versatile community deployments that present a helpful stopgap in essential areas.

“We had intermittent, weak LTE sign on the flight location earlier than we launched the 5G Flying COW,” stated Ethan Hunt, Unmanned Plane Programs (UAS) Principal Program Supervisor, AT&T, a couple of latest take a look at. “We flew the drone as much as about 300 ft, turned on the sign and it started transmitting sturdy 5G protection to roughly 10 sq. miles.”

The rollout of 5G is notoriously troublesome, significantly in areas that will profit most from protection, resembling rural zones. Infrastructure wants are immense. Millimeter wave know-how is able to offering unimaginable over-network computing speeds however attain is restricted to gadgets in shut proximity of towers. The Flying COWs is probably not a everlasting answer, however the quickly deployable community has utility in quite a lot of use circumstances.

Again in February AT&T showcased the know-how on the Tremendous Bowl at SoFi Stadium. Nicely attended sporting occasions put extreme pressure on networks and infrequently make communications not possible, a catastrophe for first responders. For the Tremendous Bowl AT&T partnered with the First Responder Community Authority (FirstNet Authority) — an impartial company inside the federal authorities — and put three Flying COWs into service. 

AT&T is leaning into analysis and growth initiatives proper now to each showcase and supply new use circumstances for its 5G know-how. For instance, the corporate has constructed litter of “RoboDogs” that can be utilized for a variety of conditions, from search and rescue to bomb disablement. Our groups are always working to enhance connectivity for these gadgets, together with outfitting them with 5G know-how. Equally, because the FAA gears as much as loosen restrictions on industrial drone operations, the Drone staff is testing BVLOS – which might enable the pilot to function a drone from a totally totally different location. AT&T has 30 extremely employees drone pilots together with tons of of contracted drone pilots accessible at a second’s discover.

“Our focus inside the drone world is connectivity. All of our drone options have that focus,” stated Artwork Pregler, Unmanned Plane Programs (UAS) Program Director, AT&T. “5G brings quite a lot of new functionality to the desk. We are able to join rather a lot bigger variety of gadgets with 5G. After we put that up, we are able to share with a bigger inhabitants.”

The drones are able to withstanding gentle rain and wind speeds as much as 25 miles per hour whereas they hover round protection areas. Outfitted with Band 14, AT&T can use the COWs to assist equip FirstNet subscribers within the US with connectivity throughout high-usage occasions. 

“We’re presently working by means of many thrilling technical challenges to broaden the capabilities of our Flying COWs®,” stated Artwork. “We’re working to autonomously fly with out tethers for months with out touchdown, utilizing solar energy to supply safe, dependable, and quick 5G connectivity to giant numbers of customers over large geographic areas. This answer could someday assist deliver broadband connectivity to rural and different underserved communities throughout the U.S. and elsewhere.”


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