T-Mobile US has partnered with Valmont Industries to use 5G-enabled drones for long-distance flight trials that provide aerial inspections for a variety of potential critical use cases – a key part of the digital economy. This partnership, which enabled drones to fly nearly 80 miles, is one of many examples of telcos tapping into the potential of drones.
Drones have become an increasingly important part of the 5G story in enterprise and public sector settings. Drones can allow hard-to-reach areas to be reviewed, such as offshore wind farms, large scale agriculture and in disaster zones like forest fires (as is happening in Canada and the north eastern US this week). 5G connectivity can play a critical role in guiding drone flight beyond the visual line of sight, as well as in the air traffic management systems needed for safe operation. The challenge for governments is not in the technology but rather the regulatory systems to enable drone flight at scale, as demonstrated by new research from GSMA Intelligence with BT, which compares 12 leading nations on a ‘readiness index’ for drone success.