Verizon’s subsidiary, Skyward canceled plans to develop a drone test facility on riverfront industrial land in North Portland after neighbors, environmental and privacy advocates raised alarm.
Verizon’s Skyward abandons drone testing plans in North Portland
The lease negotiations with the Port of Portland on a Terminal 4 industrial land plot has been terminated, according to Skyward. The company is now looking at other unspecified locations instead.
“ Pursuing those will enable us to more quickly advance commercial drone operations for our customers, innovate, and bring high-quality tech jobs to the Portland area , ” Skyward, Verizon’s Portland-based aerial drone subsidiary, wrote on its website Wednesday.
The decision was hailed by the project opponents, reports The Bulletin.
“This is great news for the community and for Wildlife that use this stretch of the Willamette,” Portland Audubon wrote on its Facebook page.
“We applaud the Port’s decision to abandon this proposal and look forward to talking further with the Port about how this riverside parcel can be put to the highest and best use,” the organization said.
In 2017 Verizon bought the Portland-based start-up Skyward and it has continued to develop software to plan drone flights and to communicate with unmanned aircraft.
Skyward is a software company that provides solutions for drones to comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and to perform specific tasks for commercial drone clients in the construction, energy, and mining industries.
Some residents of North Portland, which is a more diverse and less affluent part of the city, view the planned commercial drone activities as yet one more intrusion in a neighborhood that borders industrial sites, commercial freight, and the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.
Last week during a community ‘listening session’, the residents complained that skyward, the city, and the port of Portland at poorly communicated their plans.
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