Pilotless planes would provide 5G ‘breakthrough’

Super fast 5G connectivity provided by a continually airborne fleet of pilotless planes would be a “breakthrough”, said the team developing it.

Engineering firm Cambridge Consultants has been working on an antenna system that, once mounted to specially designed aircraft, can provide data speeds of over 100 megabits per second.

Richard Deakin, chief executive of Stratospheric Platforms near Cambridge, which has also been working on the project, says each plane would be able to provide signals that cover land areas of about 140km (85miles) in diameter, from a height of 60,000ft.

“With the aircraft up very high, you have an unobstructed view of the ground,” he said, adding that buildings and trees would not get in the way, as is the case with normal terrestrial masts.