Skyward, a drone software, service and connectivity technology company acquired by Verizon, is teaming up with UPS Flight Forward to start a drone service for the delivery of retail products. The drones will be connected to Verizon 4G LTE but will be tested using 5G as well. The three companies started testing drone delivery over 4G LTE in 2020 to demonstrate cellular reliability and performance at altitude.
UPS Flight Forward was the first drone airline to receive full Part 135 certification from the FAA in 2019. This allows them to perform drone flights outside of visual line of sight. Since then, they have operated over 3,800 successful drone delivery flights. Partnering with CVS during the COVID-19 pandemic, their flights allowed for rapid and contactless delivery of essential healthcare items to high-risk seniors.
We will need the ability to manage and support multiple drones, flying simultaneously, dispatched from a centralized location, operating in a secure and safe environment. To do this at scale, alongside Verizon and Skyward, we’ll need the power of 5G.
– Carol B. Tomé, CEO of UPS
The low latency of 5G and edge compute is ideal for monitoring air traffic in and out of a busy logistics hub, especially those using mixed fleets of autonomous vehicles like drones, trucks, and planes. This year, we’ll be taking the collaboration with UPS further by testing 5G Ultra Wideband integrations to connect the sky.
– Mariah Scott, Skyward President
Using Verizon’s 5G and Skyward, we’ll be able to transform the delivery experience – more personal, more on-demand and with the same safety, efficiency, and reliability our customers trust today.
– Bala Ganesh, Vice President, Advanced Technology Group at UPS