While our team at Sky Drone as well as our current customers have performed a lot of both test- and production flights of UAVs using the LTE network, Quallcomm just released a 65-page detailed technical Trial Report on "LTE Unmanned Aircraft Systems". Their insights are based on around 1000 flights as well as additional simulations over a period of several months.
Some key insights from the report:
- The analysis supports the viability of 4G LTE commercial mobile networks for drones operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) at 400 feet above ground level (AGL) and below.
- The field trial demonstrated that LTE networks can support safe drone operation in real-world environments.
- Very strong signal availability at higher altitudes: Received signal strengths for LTE drones at altitude are very strong despite downtilted antennas in the network. In fact, signal strengths are statistically and significantly stronger for drones at altitude than for mobile devices on the ground (“ground mobile devices”) because the free space propagation conditions at altitude more than make up for antenna gain reduction.
The full report can be found here: https://www.qualcomm.com/documents/lte-unmanned-aircraft-systems-trial-report
Qualcomm is an active member of the Drone Advisory Committee Sub-Committee (DAC-SC) and is contributing their research and providing informed inputs to the industry and FAA about the viability of using commercial cellular networks for safe drone operation, particularly for BVLOS flights.
We at Sky Drone offer a mature system for low latency LTE-based Video and Command&Control links that you can integrate with your UAV today. For more information check out http://www.skydrone.aero/