Verizon is pressing on with LTE drone tests.
The carrier last week said its latest engineering flight test sought to determine how to blanket a wide area with wireless coverage using a “flying cell site” drone. Verizon said the test was conducted at Woodbine Municipal Airport in New Jersey and was meant to simulate a scenario in which commercial power is knocked out indefinitely after a weather event or other disaster. The long-endurance drone was piloted by American Aerospace Technologies Inc., Verizon said.
“This new test builds upon our leadership in conducting the first successful demonstration in the U.S. for providing aerial coverage from a long-endurance medium altitude aircraft with AATI in Cape May last October,” Verizon’s Christopher Desmond commented.
Verizon’s latest tests of a flying cell site come just about a month and a half after AT&T announced progress in its own experiments with the technology. There were, however, a few notable differences between the tests.
AT&T’s test utilized a multi-propeller drone carrying a small cell and antennas that was connected to the ground by a thin tether. That tether was used to provide a secure fiber data connection as well as power to the drone for unlimited flight time. By contrast, Verizon’s went with an airplane-shaped drone with a dingle front propeller to carry the small cell. And based on photos from Verizon’s tests, there was no tether to the ground.
More on Verizon’s original October tests of airborne LTE via UAV can be found here.