TEOCO partners with Swisscom to use cellular communications to support drone operations in the future

Communications specialist TEOCO, together with partner STRAPAG has established a partnership with TEOCO’s AirborneRF to enable the operational deployment of drones over Swisscom’s cellular network. The announcement builds on the initial TEOCO and Swisscom collaboration in 2020 which focused on initial analysis and optimization of the network for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) traffic, says the TEOCO press release.

With Swisscom’s network ready to support commercial UAV traffic, the new engagement will see TEOCO’s AirborneRF solution extended to unlock monetization opportunities for the operator. AirborneRF will be used to bridge the gap between the cellular and aviation world, allowing different drone ecosystem players to come together to engage with the live Swisscom network data. This will enable new operational use cases, such as the use of drones in emergency scenarios, in industrial inspections, in search & rescue, or in logistics.

“This is an exciting moment for Swisscom, as we prepare our cellular network to support commercial drone operations,” said Manfred Bacher, Drone Solutions Lead, Swisscom. “We are now focused on ensuring that drone ecosystem partners have access to the required live data for safe future drone operations, and are able to leverage our network to unlock new use cases.”

TEOCO brings experience in aviation standardisation and regulation. The company contributed to the creation of the Network Coverage Service Interface, an outcome of the cooperation agreement between the GSMA and Global UTM Association (GUTMA), the Aerial Connectivity Joint Activity (ACJA) initiative, which aims to align the objectives of the global mobile and unmanned aircraft traffic management (UTM) industries. TEOCO’s AirborneRF is the first industry solutions recognised as fulfilling the global specification requirements defined by the ACJA Network Coverage Service Interface.

Thomas Neubauer, TEOCO VP Innovations said: “We’re now entering the next phase towards operational deployments and we’re looking forward to seeing how AirborneRF can integrate the cellular and aviation world to enable new drone use cases and help Swisscom engage with new partners, customers, and regulatory and standards bodies.”

Airborne is designed to assess the flight path to ensure a UAV can maintain adequate and continuous cellular coverage for every flight. It assures minimum performance-based requirements and live information during flight operations to cope with the dynamic behaviour of the cellular infrastructure. In addition, AirborneRF provides ground risk information for specific operational risk assessments (SORA) and optionally monitors and logs communications signal performance across the entire flight path.

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