What if cell service from a drone could save lives? Earlier this summer Verizon tested to see if they could provide cell phone coverage from an airborne drone to first responders in case of an emergency, i.e. right after an earthquake or hurricane. The tests were being conducted in Belleplain State Forest under the auspices of the Federal Aviation Administration, which had granted special permission to Cape May to conduct the exercise. The FAA did require a special chase plane to follow the drone.

As part of the test, Verizon, American Aerospace Inc. and the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management had simulated an Emergency Management Exercise with a controlled coverage denied situation, i.e. no cell phone coverage. However, as soon as the drone with Verizon’s airborne cellular technology appeared the cellular connection was established. The test was performed with other participating agencies like the New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

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