Verizon Skyward charts smart city 5G drone plan at CES 2021

By Paddy Smith
Verizon has teamed up with UPS Flight Forward to announce a pilot programme for smart city 5G drones at CES 2021...

Skyward, whose parent company is US telecommunications company Verizon, has announced plans for a smart city trial using 5G drones in Florida, USA.

The company is planning the prototype for future deliveries via 5G drone with UPS’s drone division, Flight Forward, which has already operated nearly 4,000 successful drone delivery flights.

Trials had already been conducted with drones connected to Verizon’s 4G LTE network in 2020, but the plan to deliver retail products via automated airborne dispatchers has been accelerated by the possibilities of 5G.

The partnership aims to deliver retail products via connected drones at The Villages in Florida.

'The power of 5G'

Carol B Tomé, CEO of UPS, said, ““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.”

Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer at Verizon, said, “ “By partnering with UPS and other innovative companies, we can learn from each other’s expertise and collaborate to create solutions that help move the world forward.”

'Connect the sky'

Mariah Scott, president of Skyward, said, ““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.”

Bala Ganesh, vice president of UPS Advanced Technology Group, said, “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.”

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