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Connectivity of Drones Solved for Drone Delivery

Posted by Sky Drone Team on

We at Sky Drone are fans of The Drone Girl. This morning, a guest post by George Smith was published there with the title Connectivity issues and the concerns no one is talking about around drone delivery. The article appears to be either poorly researched or at least just inaccurate in various aspects. Let us address some parts of it, where we at Sky Drone have unique expertise.

Drone in the Sky

Battery Usage of 4G/LTE Connectivity

George writes in his article the following:

Although M2M can provide drones with connectivity, they can also be power-thirsty if exchanging large amounts of data.

That statement is just wrong within the context it was stated. Yes, 4G/LTE modems consume more power when they're transmitting a lot of data (like  does). However, compared to the sheer amount of power the drone itself consumes during takeoff, flight and landing, the power such a 4G/LTE modem consumes is literally negligible

Take our Sky Drone FPV 2 product, for example. When you put it onto your drone, power it by the same battery as your drone, and you constantly stream a full HD video over 4G/LTE with 2Mbps as well as maintaining a constant Command & Control connection over the same channel, you will not see any impact on your battery life / max. flight time. Again, power consumption is literally negligible

Technologies like LPWAN and services like SigFox and LoRa are just simply not required. In fact, existing and (by now) well covered 4G/LTE networks with the possibility to fall back to 3G or even 2G/GPRS, are absolutely sufficient.

Drone in the Sky - Aerial

GPS Coverage

Then there is the section called "Managing drone GPS connections". To be honest, I am not even sure what that means.

Firstly, I assume George refers to the American Navstar GPS, which has worldwide coverage. Just because a drone flies out of an urban area, doesn't mean the drone will loose the signal. In fact, most of the times, the GPS signal reception will probably become better. 

Secondly, there are various alternatives to Navstar GPS, which can be used as fallback or in conjunction to the former, like the Russian Glonass, the Chinese BeiDou or the European Galileo. True, some might be regional, but in terms of fallback they offer viable options.

Thirdly, there are DGPS stations deployed in many countries can be used to use "differential GPS" technology to closer pin-point locations in areas with either a low number of satellites in view or with lots of reflections by tall buildings.

Fourthly, reflections from buildings can easily be avoided by just flying a little higher up. There is enough space upward before commercial flight traffic gets in the way, to be able to fly above most buildings - especially in wide spread-out countries like the United States.

As conclusion, that paragraph was just oversimplified and rather confusing.

Of course, there was also the part about obstacle avoidance, which is indeed a much bigger concern in terms of drone delivery - especially, when you're referring to Amazon’s master plan to take their delivery services to the skies via drone. Just imagine the kid left the skateboard in your front yard, or the kitty catty is sleeping right where the drone usually drops their parcel. 

Swapit Air - Drone Delivery for P2P Marketplaces

Furthermore, from a regulatory standpoint, in most jurisdictions are still the right regulations required to be able to operate such a service safely. However, as our great friends at Swapit have pointed out in their April Fool's Day joke Swapit Air as well as the clarification of such joke, all technologies required for providing drone delivery are available today. It just needs someone to put it all together and create a compelling offering that makes sense for consumers.

Drone Connectivity - Available Today

We at Sky Drone have created unmatched technology that provides virtually unlimited range connectivity for drones. Have a look at our Sky Drone Products for off-the-shelf products or at our Sky Drone Solutions page for more information on how to create your drone product or service using Sky Drone technology.

Products mentioned in this blog post:

  • Sky Drone FPV 2 - Digital low latency HD FPV over the 4G / LTE cellular network.
  • Sky Drone Link - Video transmission for cameras with HDMI interfaces.

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