The New York Government Is About to Test 5G Enabled Drones

The governor of New York, Kathy Hochul has announced a plan to launch what the state billed as the nation’s first unmanned aircraft systems testing range1 using fifth-generation wireless networks in a fifty-mile corridor between the upstate cities of Rome and Syracuse.

5G would allow drones to transmit data faster than in the past. The drones would be able to transmit high-definition footage within seconds.

Industries like agriculture and forest management, transportation and logistics, utilities, infrastructure including public safety would be able to have the benefit of the 5G drone technology. The work would be led by the Open Generation Consortium2, a group led by the MITRE Engenuity Foundation that includes government agencies, academics and private firms. The group also involves Verizon and wireless network infrastructure companies such as Ericsson and Nokia.

The corridor is managed by the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, also a member of the MITRE Group. They have been developing drones that can be safely operated beyond the sight of humans.3 

Current Federal Aviation Administration regulations require drones to fly 400 feet above the ground and remain in the sight of the operator. The ability to go beyond the line of sight of an operator is crucial to expanding the capabilities of drones, especially in areas such as public safety and agriculture.