Verizon’s drone company Skyward has begun taking orders for a drone with built-in Verizon LTE. The drone comes from French manufacturer Parrot and is known as the Parrot ANAFI Ai.
According to a press release, the drone can start data transfer to begin processing of imagery into 2D orthomosaic maps while Parrot ANAFI Ai is still in the air, provided that it is within the Verizon coverage area.
Parrot ANAFI Ai includes autonomous one-click flight plan creation and enhanced cybersecurity. Capabilities include obstacle avoidance and streamlining complex missions for mapping and modeling in construction, infrastructure, inspection and surveying, and public safety.
Verizon purchased Skyward in 2017.
Skyward and the Federal Aviation Administration reached an agreement to test the company’s drones in August. Last year, the drones were used to help inspect critical infrastructure in and around the Big Hollow wildfire in Washington.
If pre-ordered by Jan. 31, 2022, the Skyward Connected Drone Solution includes Parrot ANAFI Ai along with a one-year Skyward Business+ subscription and Verizon 4G LTE connectivity at no extra cost beyond the $4,000 (plus tax) retail cost. Verizon subscribers can fly Parrot ANAFI Ai and transfer data and imagery directly into Skyward over Verizon 4G LTE via Skyward’s InFlight mobile app, enabling them to create 2D maps and 3D models.
Purchasers also have access to various airspace and fleet management tools.
“The release of the first off-the-shelf drone with Verizon 4G LTE connectivity will advance drone operations for pilots nationwide,” said Mariah Scott, Verizon executive director of robotics business technology, in a prepared statement. “From supporting higher volumes of data transfer and yielding faster time to insight to enabling reliable beyond visual line of sight operations, we are proud to play a leading role in providing new capabilities. This is the next step in our ongoing efforts to connect the sky on America’s most reliable network for more than a decade.”
According to Verizon, the new offering is the first 4G LTE connectivity solution for aerial robotics in the U.S. the Skyward Connected Drone Solution allows subscribers to process aerial imagery faster than has previously been possible with off-the-shelf drones.
Joan Engebretson contributed to this report. Updated to note that Parrot is a French-based company.