Is Apple considering making its own line of drones? A newly granted patent (number 10,945,171) for “handover for unmanned aerial vehicles” hints at this, though I suspect it has more to do with being able to control drones via the iPhone.
The newly granted patent describes techniques improving handover performance in the context of user equipment incorporated into unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). A database is constructed that relates locations in a three-dimensional flying space to handover information that may include optimum scanning directions, optimum handover parameters, and/or optimum target cells to be monitored for possible handover.
The goal of the patent is to deal with the issue of operating a drone since their support on cellular networks is challenging because “while the main radiation lobes of current base station (BS) antennas are downward tilted to cover their assigned geographic region, the side lobes antennas point up to the sky.” Also, a drone can see many more BSs compared to a ground UE as has been demonstrated in field tests.
However, if Apple was considering entering the drone market, there’s some financial incentive to do so. The global commercial drone market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 57.1% from 2020 to 2027 to reach US317.8 billion by 2027, according to a report from Grandview Research.
The Apple drone mock-up is courtesy of PremiumBeat.