AT&T will explore with Uber how LTE and eventually 5G connectivity can enhance next-generation electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) and cargo drones.
This multi-phase collaboration plans to bring together AT&T’s outstanding 4G and industry-leading 5G expertise with Elevate, Uber’s air mobility business unit, to support advanced technologies eventually enabling aerial ridesharing and cargo delivery applications. The companies aim to revolutionize short-range air travel and logistics by exploring next-generation operational systems communications networks that enhance safety and reliability.
“We’re in the very earliest stages of seeing what 5G can do to augment next-generation air travel, but we’re excited for the possibilities,” said Andre Fuetsch, president, AT&T Labs, and chief technology officer.
“Ridesharing services were one of the defining mobile applications of the 4G era. Air taxis and other new air vehicles could well eventually become a signature use case for 5G,” added Fuetsch.
Dr. Tom Prevot, Director of Engineering for Airspace Systems, Uber said, “AT&T has already made important strides in pioneering connectivity capabilities above 500 feet in urban settings, and we look forward to working with them on the next generation of breakthroughs.”
The first phase of the collaboration will likely last a year or more. During this time, AT&T and the Elevate team at Uber will focus on assessing and enabling 4G and 5G connectivity for piloted aircraft and autonomous cargo drones operating in low-altitude airspace.
Uber aims to launch its aerial ridesharing service in 2023 with commercial flight operations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles and an international city to-be-announced at Uber Elevate Summit 2019.