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ATIS White Paper Explores the Synergy Between Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Mobile Cellular Services

ATIS White Paper Explores the Synergy Between Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Mobile Cellular Services

WASHINGTON — Sept. 7, 2017 — Mobile cellular networks and services are essential to advancing adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or “drones,” and a new ATIS white paper shows the ways in which information and communications technology (ICT) boosts UAV performance, reliability and safe operation. This topic is timely as UAVs are used for an increasing diversity of applications. These range from deliveries and flying cameras to public safety applications, agriculture, inspection of critical infrastructure including cell towers, and more. As the number of drones in the air and their flying time increases, safety, security and privacy concerns are coming to light.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Utilization of Cellular Services: Enabling Scalable and Safe Operation shows how services available from mobile cellular networks address these concerns to accelerate the use of drone technology. Communication, location and identity services are highlighted. In terms of communication, the paper notes that mobile networks provide reliable, wide area communication which is suitable for command and control of UAVs.  In terms of location, the paper identifies that GPS on its own is not sufficient for all UAV operating environments; mobile cellular networks provide location services based on several technologies which can work in environments where GPS doesn’t and provide a trustworthy and technically independent source of location information. And, in terms of identity, mobile cellular networks provide cryptographically secured, trusted, attestations of device identities.

The paper shows, for example, how the network can be used to provide drone location information from multiple independent sources. This can benefit the market in many ways, including the provision of a network-based audit trail to prove the vehicle has avoided controlled airspace.

“Better understanding of how UAVs and mobile cellular service technologies work together will foster synergy to offer mutual benefits to both the ICT and UAV industries,” said ATIS President and CEO Susan Miller.

Upcoming ATIS analysis on this topic will consider payload aspects of UAV flights. This will include the use of UAVs to provide wireless services, for example for coverage in emergencies or during special events.

Access Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Utilization of Cellular Services in the ATIS white paper center, a leading resource for the industry insights coming out of ATIS Committees and Forums


About ATIS

As a leading technology and solutions development organization, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) brings together the top global ICT companies to advance the industry’s most pressing business priorities. ATIS’ 150 member companies are currently working to address 5G, cyber security, IoT, the all-IP transition, network functions virtualization, smart cities, big data analytics, cloud services, device solutions, emergency services, network evolution, quality of service, billing support, operations, and much more. These priorities follow a fast-track development lifecycle – from design and innovation through standards, specifications, requirements, business use cases, software toolkits, open source solutions, and interoperability testing.

ATIS is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ATIS is the North American Organizational Partner for the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a founding Partner of the oneM2M global initiative, a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as well as a member of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL). For more information, visit

Marcella Wolfe, Manager – Public Relations and Marketing Communications, ATIS