FAA Moves to Further America’s Cellular-Connected Drone Operations

The Federal Aviation Administration linked up with Verizon-owned software company Skyward to experiment with and advance the use of cellular-connected drones…

Currently, most commercial drones lean on unlicensed spectrum, which according to the MOA press release, “is restricted in range and subject to interference.” Those elements limit its use for more demanding operations. Verizon offers a type of 4G coverage over spectrum protected from interference, which officials said could be advantageous for drone operations.

Through the new agreement, titled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)—Cellular Technologies to Support UAS Activities,” FAA and Skyward intend to mutually dive deep into the cellular communication networks for command and control, or C2, capabilities within the National Airspace System. In addition, they aim for this collaboration to inform new standards and regulations regarding spectrum used in the C2 link between the drone operator and drone, and improve information-sharing in this space.