Skyward, a Verizon company, says it has been approved to give commercial drone operators instant access to controlled airspace with the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) services from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The program will roll out this fall at various airports, including Cincinnati International Airport (CVG), Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Lincoln Airport (LNK), among others.
According to Skyward, LAANC will enable businesses to access airspace that previously required the submission of a manual request for authorization; it will automate the approval process, reducing the wait time from months to seconds.
Though the release of Part 107 significantly lowered the barrier to entry for companies that want to operate drones commercially, the rule also created an operational hurdle for companies in urban areas, especially for early adopters who had previously coordinated directly with local air traffic control, explains Skyward.
“Based on customer feedback, we know most of their jobs are in controlled airspace, and getting access to fly in these areas is one of their largest business pain points,” says Mariah Scott, co-president of Skyward. “Operators have had to wait 60-90 days to receive authorization under the existing system. Now, with Skyward and LAANC, enterprises can get approval to fly in just two clicks. With this hurdle gone, we can expect to see substantial adoption of drone technology at the enterprise level.”
As one of 12 members of the LAANC working group, Skyward says it helped to develop this capability.