Day to day, I work with Skyward’s Professional Services team to train enterprise-level companies to establish safer, scalable, efficient, and successful UAS programs. Drone operations aren’t just a future case — they’re here now. Skyward supports drone operations at major enterprises every day through fleet management tools, digital airspace access, flight training, regulatory support, and 4G LTE and 5G connectivity testing.

Here’s what Skyward offers today, and what we’ll be doing tomorrow.

How Skyward supports drone operations today

Enterprise fleet management software for unmanned aviation

Skyward’s aviation management platform is the most advanced in the industry. Our software includes a browser-based cloud app and InFlight, a mobile ground control system for iOS devices. Skyward can manage airspace, personnel, and aircraft regardless of the manufacturer. Skyward’s software features:

  • Advanced, easy-to-understand airspace intelligence
  • Essential ground hazard information
  • Flight planning tools
  • Digital system of record and flight logging
  • Aircraft, equipment, and personnel management tools
  • Flight controls, media tools, and automatic logging for DJI aircraft

Digital airspace access through LAANC

Skyward is an FAA-approved UAS Service Supplier (USS), which means Skyward offers automated access to controlled airspace through the FAA’s LAANC capability. LAANC allows access to controlled airspace in seconds, where the previous process took months. Skyward was the first ops management platform to provide native LAANC access, and we continue to make LAANC easy to understand and use.

Skyward is also working toward remote identification — the next big step toward fully-automated drone operations. We are developing and establishing Remote ID technology so we can provide access to our customers. Remote ID will enable operations beyond visual line of sight, and ultimately connected flights over long distance.

Flight training, regulatory support, and professional services

Skyward offers a suite of professional services to help companies launch and scale successful drone programs. For companies just getting started with drones, Skyward offers a Quick-Start Package for Enterprises, a one stop shop for the standard operating procedures, aircraft, equipment, and training you need early on.

Skyward also offers these drone consulting services:

  • Part 107 waiver support
  • Airspace authorization support
  • Proof of concept
  • Basic or advanced drone ops training
  • Standard operating procedures consulting
  • API integration via PowerBI

Connectivity testing over Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G networks

Skyward is conducting research and development on Verizon’s networks to establish standards for aviation-ready wireless connectivity. This will open up the skies to safe, connected flights beyond visual line of sight.

We’ve partnered with other companies for advanced BVLOS test operations. We’ve participated in remote ID demonstrations. We’ve even conducted BVLOS testing with a connected drone on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, the most reliable in the world.

We continue to innovate with 4G LTE connectivity as we establish standards for 5G’s advanced capabilities.

How Skyward supports the drone operations of tomorrow

5G-connected drones and Skyward

4G LTE enables connected drone flights today. But 5G will open up brand new capabilities. The power of Verizon’s 5G network includes:

  • Low latency, allowing control of aircraft from miles away in near real time
  • Rapid data transfer, enabling live transmission of high volumes of data
  • Near real-time analytics during flight with edge computing
  • Up to a million connected devices per square kilometer
  • High reliability on the ground and in the air

Skyward’s Aviation Development Centers are making sure that the same fast, reliable network you trust on the ground will be available in the sky. We believe companies will use the powers of 5G and Skyward to unlock new capabilities and advance aviation to new heights.

If you’re interesting in learning more about drones and connectivity, download Skyward’s guide, The Near Future of Connected Drones: Strategic Planning for Enterprises

Universal Traffic Management (UTM)

Skyward President Mariah Scott testified before Congress about the need for a Universal Traffic Management system. Since drones share airspace with helicopters, airplanes, and other forms of aviation, we will need systems in place to safely manage airspace access for all types of aviation.

Network connectivity is the first step, allowing crewed and uncrewed aircraft to identify and avoid each other. As Verizon builds the nation’s best 5G network and Skyward develops standards for universal air traffic management, we’re pushing toward this goal.

Automated drone ops: one pilot, many drones

Today, regulations require drone pilots to control no more than one drone at a time. But with 5G connected drones and a UTM system, a single pilot could launch multiple drones — or dozens, or hundreds. 

When airspace is fully managed, advanced applications like package delivery, remote inspections, and even human transportation will be possible. Drones will be able to function autonomously without the need for human control. Skyward and Verizon are investing in the technology and working with the FAA toward regulations necessary to make this future a reality.

See what Skyward can do for you

Want to learn more about how Skyward can help your company launch, manage, and scale commercial drone operations? Contact Skyward today — we’d love to hear from you!