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May 18, 2018

Drones and Wireless: The Sky’s the Limit .

Drones and Wireless: The Sky’s the Limit


The commercial use of drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), will revolutionize industries across America, thanks in part to the fast-moving innovation spurring their development and use.

From more efficient package delivery to more effective public safety response and utility monitoring, the use cases and economic potential for drones continue to expand. In the U.S. alone, drones are expected to add $80B to the economy and create 100,000 new jobs by 2025.

The wireless industry plays a critical role in the development of the drone ecosystem. CTIA members operate and manage wireless networks essential to drone communications, manufacture drone components, and operate drones in a variety of commercial and public sectors.

And while the potential of drones is immense, the regulatory framework for integrating drones into national airspace remains a work in progress.

Economic Impact of Drones

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Economic Impact of Drones

Drones will have a significant economic impact across the United States. Drone commerce is expected to add $80B to the economy.

In order to accelerate the implementation of these new technologies and create a regulatory framework that balances innovation and safety, the Trump Administration and Department of Transportation (DOT) established the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP), announcing awards to ten projects that propose drone use cases across various sectors.

The program seeks to foster improved understanding between the private sector and policymakers at the local and national level to provide actionable information on the integration of drones into national airspace. Communities as diverse as San Diego, California and the Chocktaw Nation of Oklahoma partnered with a leading group of companies to develop pilot proposals aimed at solving local issues.

Recently announced by the DoT, awardees of the program are pursuing a diverse range of projects, such as facilitating the time-sensitive delivery of lifesaving medical devices in rural and urban areas and deploying drones for precision agriculture operations.

To address the Administration’s request for insightful data about wireless networks and devices in pilot programs and accelerate the deployment of drones, the CTIA Drones Working Group established a set of voluntary data reporting principles. The guidelines provide a road map for consistently-formatted data to agencies like FAA, FCC and NASA on wireless network-enabled drone communications and validate the reliability of wireless networks for UAV communication functions.

Drones present limitless opportunities for industry and consumer innovation. If regulatory agencies, local governments and private companies continue to work together through programs like the IPP, the sky really is the limit.


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Drone commerce is expected to add more than $80B to the economy and create 100K new jobs as 5G will unlock the full commercial potential of drones.

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