HomeDrone UpdatesVerizon's Skyward unexpectedly shuts down

Verizon’s Skyward unexpectedly shuts down

In information that was surprising even to most Skyward workers, the drone firm that was acquired by Verizon is shutting down.

Skyward is an Oregon-based firm that gives a drone software program platform designed to assist operational management for drone applications together with the InFlight cellular app, LAANC entry to managed airspace, and Mapping & Modeling powered by Pix4D. The corporate was acquired by telecommunications big Verizon in 2017. Exterior of its software program, it additionally affords a variety of providers together with drone coaching, consulting, and connectivity.

However all of that’s set to return to an finish this summer time. The corporate despatched out an e-mail to clients saying the tip of its providers for drone pilots. Prospects could have assist for his or her flight operations via June 30, 2022.

Right here’s a snippet of the e-mail that was despatched out to Skyward clients:

Howdy valued buyer,

We’re saying as we speak that Skyward, A Verizon firm, will likely be ending operations within the coming weeks.

This isn’t a straightforward choice. The Verizon Robotics group will likely be focusing our efforts on floor robotic administration, connectivity providers, and options improvement.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this may trigger you.

We search to provide the smoothest attainable transition off Skyward with out considerably impacting your flight operations. In compliance with our phrases of service, we’ll proceed to assist the Skyward Drone Administration Platform via June 30 2022, at which level customers will now not have entry.

Relaxation assured that Verizon is dedicated to knowledge safety and privateness. All buyer knowledge in Verizon methods will likely be dealt with in accordance with Verizon’s knowledge privateness and doc retention insurance policies. We’ll ship you extra particulars very quickly.

The information offers Skyward’s present clients solely about two months to seek out an alternate platform to handle their drone flights. That mentioned, DroneDeploy founder Michael Winn, whose firm is mostly seen as a Skyward competitor, was fast to sympathize — and likewise capitalize on the information:

” The corporate stays centered on its funding in floor robotic administration, connectivity providers, and resolution improvement, in accordance with an announcement offered by Verizon to The Drone Lady. “The Verizon Robotics Group permits enterprise clients to effectively undertake and scale Autonomous Cell Robots (AMR) to enhance productiveness, ship sooner time to perception, and cut back prices via automation and 5G.”

Whereas it’s nonetheless not solely clear what is going to occur to all of Skyward’s property, many workers have been unexpectedly laid off, in accordance with their social media posts.

Screen Shot 2022 05 05 at 10.47.19 AM

A Verizon spokesperson mentioned it expects that some workers will nonetheless stick with Verizon Robotics, whereas others will switch to different positions inside Verizon. However others, like those that have posted on the Web above, should discover alternatives elsewhere.

The information feels notably surprising on condition that Skyward workers simply returned from the AUVSI XPONENTIAL 22 convention, the place the corporate had a reasonably robust presence. Verizon Robotics ran a sales space the place Skyward hosted demos on making maps with drones, mentioned BVLOS drone flights and extra. Skydio additionally received second place in AUVSI’s Xcellence awards within the class of Know-how for Software program, Design, and Coding.

Verizon and Skyward have had a reasonably sturdy presence within the drone business. Skyward say on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee (often known as DAC), giving it a reasonably robust voice in offering the FAA with recommendation on drone-related integration points.

The corporate made a splash at CES 2021 when it revealed its collaboration with UPS Flight Ahead (the drone supply arm of UPS), saying that it was testing 5G integration for drone supply of retail merchandise at The Villages in Florida. That partnership started in 2020, when Verizon, UPS Flight Ahead, and Skyward began testing 4G LTE in supply drones to exhibit mobile reliability and efficiency at altitude. Verizon’s Skyward additionally had a novel Memorandum of Settlement with the FAA the place it could suggest requirements for operations, together with BVLOS flights, and flights occurring over the industrial wi-fi spectrum.

Skyward Verizon Pendleton Oregon UAS range
The Pendleton UAS Vary. Photograph courtesy of Verizon Robotics.

And firstly of this 12 months, Verizon Robotics mentioned it could head to Oregon’s Pendleton Unmanned Aerial Methods Vary to check numerous proof-of-concept capabilities primarily round lengthy vary robotics. 

Skyward sits inside Verizon’s broader Robotics Enterprise Know-how unit, which additionally features a firm known as incubed IT which builds software program for autonomous cellular robots and was acquired by Verizon in February 2021.

And a Verizon spokesperson confirmed that different features of Verizon Robotics would forge on.

“This choice is about market agility and making certain that Verizon continues to concentrate on areas that present each close to and mid-term progress alternatives,” a Verizon spokesperson advised The Drone Lady. “We proceed to focus our funding on floor robotics together with incubedIT, supporting industrial and out of doors makes use of within the US and Europe.”

Are you shocked by the information that Skyward is shutting down? Share your ideas within the feedback under.

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