U.S. wireless operator AT&T announced it is teaming up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop a traffic management system for drones.
In a press release, AT&T said the goal of the collaboration is the creation of an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) solution that will support the safe and secure operation of drones in national airspace.
“Working with NASA and others, we are designing the management system for a new frontier in aviation,” AT&T’s Vice President of Global Public Sector Solutions Mike Leff said. “Drones are already used in agriculture, public safety, construction, utilities, real estate, and TV. This research can help support the commercial and private use of drones nationwide.”
AT&T said its roll in the project is to bring to the table expertise on networking, the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, identity management, and cybersecurity. The carrier said cybersecurity is a particular concern surrounding drones because easy access to the vehicles and their many potential uses could increase the risk of cyberattacks.
The move to team up with NASA is AT&T’s latest action in the drone space. The carrier previously announced it is using drones to inspect cell towers and tested the use of drones on its LTE network. Additionally, AT&T President of Internet of Things Solutions Chris Penrose was named to the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee earlier this year. That group identifies and advises actions to support the safe introduction of unmanned aircraft systems into U.S. national airspace, AT&T said.
AT&T rival Verizon has also stepped up action in the drone space with its own trials of drones on its LTE network and use of the aircraft to inspect cell towers and venues.