Uber taps AT&T to explore 5G ‘air taxi’ applications

Uber has five vehicle partners, including Jaunt Air Mobility (pictured), developing vehicles for its air taxi service. (Uber)

Uber has teamed up with AT&T to collaborate on Uber’s proposed commercial air service, which is slated to debut in 2023.


Uber’s Elevate air mobility business division plans to support aerial ridesharing and cargo delivery applications. Under the collaboration, AT&T Foundry and Uber Elevate will explore how to use LTE and 5G to support electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) and cargo drones.


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“Ridesharing services were one of the defining mobile applications of the 4G era. Air taxis and other new air vehicles could well eventually become a signature use case for 5G,” said Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs, and the company’s CTO, in a statement. He added that we’re in the early stages of “seeing what 5G can do to augment next-generation air travel.”


The first phase of the collaboration will see the two companies assessing 4G and 5G connectivity for piloted aircraft and autonomous cargo drones operating in low-altitude airspace. Future phases will study technologies such as edge computing and network slicing for developing dedicated connectivity channels for air taxis and drones.


Uber plans to begin commercial flight operations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and Los Angeles, California, by 2023. Uber has partnered with Jaunt Air Mobility, Boeing, Embraer, Bell and others to develop eVTOL vehicles for the service.