Verizon testing deployment of drones to provide mobile connectivity in emergency situations

Verizon testing deployment of drones to provide mobile connectivity in emergency situations

The deployment of large-scale drones is being tested by Verizon Communications for provide mobile connectivity in emergency situations - like weather disasters - which cause damage to land-based cellular network.

Verizon also expects large-scale drone deployment tests to attract corporate customers who could potentially use the connected drones for new business applications.

With weather disasters like Hurricane Matthew prompting Verizon and other wireless carriers to test the use of drones and other unmanned aircraft for offering wireless hot spots for 4G LTE connections in emergency situations, Verizon said in an October 6 announcement that it has run a trial of a high-altitude drone flying out of Cape May, N.J., to reach LTE mobile connectivity to first responders in a simulated weather disaster.

The wireless hot spots provided by the drone in the trial enabled first responders to communicate with people in remote areas in which wireless antennas were either lost or had become unavailable due to a calamity.

The Verizon drone used for the trial had a 17-foot wingspan, and was flown by American Aerospace Technologies. The trial will help Verizon engineers to learn about the drone's expanse and optimal altitude for providing mobile connectivity, along with other valuable guidance for future flights.

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