Cellular Drone Communication

Cellular enables safer drone deployments.

Cellular connectivity will be key for coordinated operation and control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, more commonly referred to as drones, enabling a growing set of use cases within and beyond the operator’s visual line of sight.

Our vision for the safer, autonomous drone of the future.

With its rich roadmap to 5G, cellular technology can bring a new dimension of high reliability, robust security, ubiquitous coverage and seamless mobility to wide-scale drone operation, enabling new kinds of services—helping farmers improve crop yields, giving workers tools to more safely conduct inspections of critical infrastructure, and changing how we respond to disasters.

Safe, autonomous navigation

Enhance safe operation of autonomous drones through machine perception and delivery of real-time telematics and operational data.

Coordinated, massive deployments

Operate air traffic control for autonomous drones in controlled and uncontrolled airspace environments.

Growing use cases and capabilities

Share real-time video feeds from a surveillance drone or the vaccine’s temperature form a medical delivery drone.

Advancing cellular drone communication.

Qualcomm is accelerating drone technology development by testing drone operation over commercial LTE networks at our FAA-authorized UAS Flight Center—a test environment that represents real time conditions mixed with a commercial, residential, rural and FAA controlled airspace.

Optimize LTE networks

Promote use of commercial cellular networks for drones, without impacting terrestrial network.

Inform regulators

Help inform positive developments in drone regulations.

Accelerate 5G development

Specifically for massive deployments of mission-critical drone use cases.

Unlocking the Potential of Drones

Sep 29, 2016


Paving the path to 5G: Optimizing commercial LTE networks for drone communication

Sep 6, 2016


Optimizing today's LTE networks.

Our early findings showed that current cellular networks can provide coverage to drones at higher altitudes up to 400ft. We also found out that our test drones are capable of demonstrating seamless handovers between different base stations during flights with zero link failures. However, we still see several opportunities to optimize LTE for safe drone operation.

Interference Management

Manage interference received by the drone from high number of “neighbor” base stations.

Handover optimization

As drone’s handover behavior is different than ground UE’s, network optimization of handover is needed.

LTE enabled drone specific requirements

In order for the network to optimize service for drones, the network may need to be able to distinguish a drone from a ground UE.

Leading the world to 5G.

5G will enable wide scale deployments of mission-critical drone use cases, For example, a team of drones collaborating with each other to conduct search and rescue mission – first searching for and finding a lost hiker, then manipulating and lowering a net, and ultimately bringing the victim to the nearest medical facility.

Mission critical services

5G will bring the required ultra-high reliability, ultra-high availability, incredibly-low latency and strong end-to-end security.

Wide scale deployments

5G will bring the uniform throughput, coverage at all relevant altitudes, direct communication and the ability to serve numerous drones.

Delivering new level of intelligence.

Besides advancing cellular communication for drones, Qualcomm is delivering new levels of on-board intelligence. Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone development brings together all of our drone technology innovations on a highly optimized heterogeneous computing platform

Qualcomm's drone and robotic solutions

Learn about Qualcomm's drone solutions and get started building your drone product.


Join us for a webinar about the The Role of LTE and 5G in Enabling Safer, Autonomous Drones, to be held Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016

Snapdragon Flight

Snapdragon Flight drone development platform allows developers to create a new class of consumer drones.

Stay informed with our 5G and wireless technology newsletter.