Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

An emerging technology with an important role in communications operations and infrastructure.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or "drone" technology is advancing to provide a diverse set of applications. These include surveying for radio coverage and the physical condition of outdoor equipment, emergency restoration activities, event-driven communications services, as well as the delivery of broadband services in areas of low population density or during planned or spontaneous outage events. ATIS’ UAV initiative will define how to advance this technology for market introduction and develop consensus industry positions to educate regulatory and legislative audiences.

The challenge of providing cellular communications to and from drones has already been identified as a key area of work. Many drones already rely on cellular communications to support both control and payload applications (e.g., video streaming from on-board cameras). With the use of cellular on drones already underway, ATIS is studying a range of critical technical and regulatory implications, including the use of so-called "Cells on Wings" (CoWs) where a UAV is used instead of a conventional tower to host cellular base station antennas.


Jim McEachern
Senior Technology Consultant