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Verizon’s Skyward, FAA to Test Cellular-Connected Drones; Matt Fanelli Quoted

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Cellular-Connected Drones

Skyward, a Verizon company, announced on Thursday that the company signed a potential three-year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test cellular-connected drones.

The MOA titled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)—Cellular Technologies to Support UAS Activities” will enable Skyward and the FAA to research the capabilities of cellular communication networks for command and control (C2) within the National Airspace System.

“Cellular-connected drones play a critical role in enabling tomorrow’s safe, reliable, and secure drone operations,” said Matt Fanelli, director of Strategy and Operations at Skyward, a Verizon company.

Skyward and Verizon will also be using the data and information collected in the course of the MOA to inform its discussions on C2 and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations in the FAA’s Advisory and Rulemaking Committee as well as universal traffic management (UTM), and one-to-many operations.

“We are thrilled to be laying this foundation with the FAA and are confident that our efforts will help inform technical standards from which industry regulations authorizing low-risk BVLOS and one-to-many operations will flow,” Fanelli added.

The MOA will also inform regulations regarding spectrum used in the C2 link between the drone operator and drone. The MOA will also facilitate information sharing between the FAA and Skyward, leveraging Verizon’s wireless network expertise, as the parties continue to explore how wireless networks can support drone operations.