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DALLAS: June 11, 2019. AT&T and Uber are to use 5G connectivity to support electric cargo and passenger drones due to begin service in Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia in 2023.

The collaboration will bring together AT&T’s 4G and 5G expertise with Elevate, Uber’s air mobility business unit, to enable aerial ridesharing and cargo delivery applications.

The companies say the aim is to revolutionize short-range air travel and logistics by exploring next-generation operational systems communications networks that enhance safety and reliability.

uber“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.”

During the first development phase AT&T and Uber Elevate say they will focus on assessing and enabling 4G and 5G connectivity for piloted aircraft and autonomous cargo drones operating in low-altitude airspace.

“AT&T’s talented team of engineers and leading 5G capabilities have the potential to revolutionize wireless connectivity for eVTOLs and drones,” added Uber director of Engineering for Airspace Systems Tom Prevot. “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.”

AT&T expects to operate 5G sub-6Ghz service across the US by the first half of 2020 and is committed to using IoT connectivity to help enable transportation, agriculture, retail, engineering and public safety sectors.

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