NEW YORK � One of the criticisms broadcasters have leveled on the cellular telephone industry is that it can�t effectively disseminate emergency information in times of need, because of failures in the system related to overuse, loss of power, or outright system damage. The cellular industry clearly agrees with that assessment � probably not in words, but certainly in actions. This article in rcrwireless.com describes Verizon�s testing of a drone that will fly over areas that are affected by some sort of emergency, at least in part taking over for cells that are, for some reason, not working fully.
The recent demo of the Verizon drone was held in conjunction with the Cape May County (New Jersey) Office of Emergency Management and drone company American Aerospace Technologies.� (Here�s a brief video of the drone, from dronelife.com.)
The UAV has 17-foot wingspan and a 16-hour flying time.�American Aerospace Technologies paired the drone with a mobile operations unit on the ground. Backhaul was provided over unlicensed spectrum from the drone to the mobile operations unit, which was then connected via a Verizon LTE modem to a local base station. �The first responders on the ground were able to have regular smartphone data sessions, from sharing texts and pictures to voice calls,� according to the article. Verizon had previously tailored its service in the area so that customers were moved to other bands and the drone provided the only coverage in the area for the disaster recovery simulation drill.