Verizon’s Skyward and UPS Flight Forward have announced they will be working together to bring drone delivery to The Villages in Florida. The drones will use Verzion’s 4G and 5G networks, running on Skywards’ drone management platform.
During last year, the three companies worked together to develop and test drone deliveries using Verizon’s 4G network. The test location for the deliveries, The Villages in Florida, is an adult retirement community with a population of more than 77,000.
UPS Flight Forward has completed more than 3,800 drone deliveries over its lifetime, with a huge uptick in that number due to the global pandemic.
The Verizon 5G network will have enough resources to manage multiple drones at once while operating different delivery jobs. These drones will be dispatched from a central location and work with robots and electric delivery vehicles to get the job done.
The network and drone management platform will allow hubs worldwide to better monitor traffic moving in and out, especially as drones become more of a standard delivery method. At its CES 2021 announcement, Verizon shared that it will begin to test deliveries with its 5G network, to move away from 4G eventually.
Mariah Scott, Skyward president, shared:
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.
UPS and drones
UPS has a rich history with drones, adopting them over the last few years with key partners such as Matternet, CVS, and Workhorse Group. UPS has been delivering medical supplies and medicine to patients for some time now with an increase during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company has even begun to use drones to keep up with the forever increasing demand for same-day delivery.
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The Skyward drone platform allows clients to remotely track and manage its drones in the air in real time through an easy-to-use dashboard. The platform also allows drone flights to get instant authorization and keeps track of flight logs and maintenance completed on the drone to ensure it falls within the requirements set by the FAA. The dashboard allows flights to be planned and scheduled, so everyone on the team knows what’s happening for improved workflows.