June 1, 2017 —
Fenix Group, a private Virginia-based technology firm, has partnered with Martin UAV, a Texas-based manufacturer of rugged utility drones to launch an under-55-lbs. drone capable of providing fully functional 4G cell phone service. The technology is similar to Google’s Project Loon.
While Fenix Group plans to issue its first production units to DoD and first responders, the Virginia startup anticipates high demand from telecom providers, oil & gas companies, and crisis response units worldwide.
The “flying cell phone tower” – complete with subscriber database and billing functionality, will be able to provide connectivity in the most remote parts of the world. In addition to providing a coverage area on the ground, the payload is also able to stream encrypted video from the drone’s camera system to anyone on the network. In the future, soldiers, search and rescue teams, and first responders will have access to drone video from their phones. Fenix enabled Internet access so that command centers could access the feed from anywhere in the world.