In a recent web post (opens in new tab) Verizon has announced that it plans to be the first network provider to connect one million flights of 5G drones. And this should come as no surprise, since Verizon purchased drone operation company Skyward back in 2016.
“Today I'm announcing Verizon's commitment to be the first to connect one million drone flights to the 5G network. Allowing drones to become a key part of how companies reimagine their business in a 5G world,” said Mariah Scott, president of Skyward (opens in new tab), a Verizon company that specializes in helping organizations launch and run drone operations.
What can 5G do for drones?
Drone connectivity is now seen as a core revenue stream for Verizon 5G, which has been available since April this year. Using 5G technology Verizon says it will enable drones to transmit high-definition footage in real-time. And with 5G being up to 100x faster than 4G, it will enable drones to send high-quality footage to operators on the ground. This would be ideal for 5G use cases such as infrastructure safety inspections and town and city planning schemes.
“We've already started testing connected drones on 5G on the Verizon Network,” said Scott. “We knew early on that connectivity would be critical for drones to truly transform our world. And now 5G Ultra Wideband will usher in a new era in aviation, where we connect and integrate drones into the national airspace.”
AI can also be used by drones on Verizon’s 5G network. Drones can use AI to complete complicated tasks such as scanning items in a warehouse to recognize patterns. This will help to improve warehouse efficiency and allow human workers to carry out other, more important, tasks.
Lastly, the low latency of 5G will enable tracking of drone fleets. As drones become more popular, stricter monitoring is required to ensure that the devices don’t stray into restricted areas. The low latency of 5G will minimize lag so operators can keep a tighter handle on things.
Drones are a huge potential market for telecoms that want to maximise on 5G subscriptions. And the popularity of drones amongst both the general public and businesses is growing rapidly. For example, in the US alone, the FAA expects almost 800,000 drones to be registered in 2022.