NASA has been working closely with several companies to experiment with the different appliances of drones and how these remote-controlled pilotless aircrafts could be in some way monitored. The latest company to have agreed to partner with NASA is one of the four major carriers of the United States; Verizon is now aiming to help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration make advances in a research that involves cell towers to determine the position of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs for short. The actual goal of NASA’s research is currently unknown, but many reports have speculated that the administration has a vision of making the whole population feel safer around these unmanned vehicles by monitoring which UAVs are actually breaking the few laws that currently exist regarding drones.
Last year, Verizon signed an agreement with NASA to let them freely use their cell towers for experiments. The test that NASA is doing will demonstrate whether cell towers can be used to communicate and surveil unmanned aerial systems flying at low altitudes. Kevin King, spokesperson for Verizon, quickly responded to a report by the Guardian; who under the Freedom of Information Act, obtained the documents where the carrier agreed to provide their own cell towers for experiments. King announced the eventual release of a new concept that will use cell coverage for data, navigation, surveillance and the tracking of drones by the year 2017; the carrier also expects this kind of technology to be fully operable in 2019.
Kevin King, from Verizon, also noted that NASA didn’t recur exclusively to them; the agency also asked several other major tech companies to help them conclude experiments regarding drones. Google and Amazon also agreed to sign the petition from NASA and help them make advances in their research. Verizon strongly stated that this is not only a way to help NASA, but the whole world as an “investment in innovation”. Verizon also noted that the company is not certain that it will gain something in return, but the mere partnership seems to be more than enough for them, as King stated “To say we’re partnering with NASA, I think it overstates what we’re doing”.