Verizon Wireless has unveiled a new initiative called the Airborne LTE Operations (ALO), and among other things, it is looking to make full use of drones that are connected to the Big Red’s LTE network in giving assistance to first responders in times of emergencies and natural calamities. With the launch of this initiative, the Big Red is also hoping to encourage developers to build mobile apps for ALO.
According to the biggest wireless carrier in the United States, it was able to successfully achieve technical trials in several locations across America with the use of both unmanned and manned aircraft on its LTE network. An early adopter exercise conducted in the city of Cape May in New Jersey, for instance, had Verizon Wireless make full use of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) in demonstrating how its LTE network can help first responders and other emergency management workers in their disaster recovery efforts.
Some may remember that back in July earlier this year, rival network AT&T started the trial phase of its countrywide drone program headed by Art Pregler. And then a month ago, AT&T and Qualcomm Technologies revealed that they were in the process of conducting tests on drones connected to existing commercial LTE networks using Qualcomm’s facility located in the city of San Diego in California. Also during the CTIA Super Mobility 2016 event, Matt Grob, the chief technical officer of Qualcomm, made mention of its collaborate efforts with AT&T that enabled drones connected to an LTE network.
Verizon Wireless, however, has claimed that its crew started developing tech for in-flight LTE operations way back a couple of years ago, and most of last year. Basically, the industry leader is saying that despite AT&T launching its program around three months ago, the Big Red has been working on its own tech for the last two years or so.
As part of Verizon’s strategy with regards to the Internet of Things (IoT), its initiative involves essentially everything, from the certification process of a new device, to joining forces with partners such as Sierra Wireless and American Aerospace Technologies Inc. (AATI) especially on the subject of aerial long range apps beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
Of course, there will still be some things that will need to be smoothed out. One task is to get federal regulations to let unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operation BVLOS. According to Verizon Wireless, it is working with ATTI so that as soon as federal regulations allow BVLOS, they will immediately test to see how effective BVLOS command and control cellular network communications will be for long distance UAVs.
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