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CES 2021: Verizon, UPS and Skyward announce connected drone delivery

By Chris Stonor

The Verizon company, Skyward, and UPS Flight Forward announced a partnership at this week’s CES 2021, to deliver retail products with drones connected to Verizon 4G LTE, as well as 5G trials for similar deliveries. Initially, the companies will fly retail products via connected drones around The Villages in Florida, U.S.

Carol B. Tomé, CEO of UPS, comments, “We require the ability to manage and support multiple drones, flying simultaneously, dispatched from a centralised location and operating in a secure and safe environment. To do this at scale, we need the power of 5G.”

Rima Qureshi, Chief Strategy Officer at Verizon, adds, “We’re just beginning to see how the power of 5G Ultra Wideband will transform the way businesses operate. By partnering with UPS and other innovative companies, we can learn from each other’s expertise and collaborate to create solutions that help move the world forward.”

Last year, Verizon, UPS Flight Forward, and Skyward began testing 4G LTE in delivery drones to demonstrate cellular reliability and performance at altitude.

Mariah Scott, Skyward President, points out, “The low latency of 5G and edge compute is ideal for monitoring air traffic in and out of a busy logistics hub, especially those using mixed fleets of autonomous vehicles like drones, trucks, and planes.” She continues, “This year, we’ll be taking the collaboration with UPS further by testing 5G Ultra Wideband integrations to connect the sky.”

UPS has operated more than 3,800 successful drone delivery flights since the creation of UPS Flight Forward, its drone delivery company, certified by the FAA in 2019.

Bala Ganesh, Vice President, Advanced Technology Group at UPS, concludes, “Using Verizon’s 5G and Skyward, we’ll be able to transform the delivery experience – more personal, more on-demand and with the same safety, efficiency, and reliability our customers trust today.”


CES is described as “The most influential tech event in the world and the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators.” It is where the world’s biggest brands do business and meet new partners. The event is owned and organised by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and features every aspect of the tech sector.

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