Unmanned Traffic Management technology provider Altitude Angel and Inmarsat today announced a collaboration to develop and deliver advanced flight tracking and management capability for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones.
The two companies will build on Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM platform to jointly develop a ‘Pop-Up UTM’ capability that can be deployed anywhere it is required to manage Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) UAV flights, without the need for ground-based communications infrastructure. By utilising Inmarsat’s world-leading global network of satellites and leveraging its substantial experience in Air Traffic Management (ATM) communications, Altitude Angel’s Pop-Up UTM can be accessed rapidly and deployed worldwide.
The Pop-Up UTM will be developed initially to address the unmanned traffic management needs of blue light emergency services and first responders who need aerial surveillance rapidly with little notice, with a commercial, industry-focussed product to follow soon after. Through this technology, emergency services will be able to manage UAVs remotely, increasing their range of safe operations in mixed airspace containing manned and unmanned vehicles.
Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Director of UAVs & UTM, said: “Inmarsat is excited to partner with Altitude Angel on this ground-breaking technology, which allows UAV flights to operate quickly, efficiently and safely. Inmarsat is uniquely positioned to act as a catalyst for the safe and rapid growth of the Unmanned Aerial Systems sector due to our state-of-the-art global satellite network, decades of experience in keeping aircraft safe through communications, navigation and surveillance services, and relationships with Air Traffic Management providers worldwide. We also bring first-hand experience of working with international aid organisations to deliver emergency communications in remote areas.”
Phil Binks, Altitude Angel, Head of Air Traffic Management, added: “The ability to almost instantly ‘pop-up’ safe, secure and fully operational UTM platforms in any environment, at any time, will give first responders, blue light services and aid organisations a valuable new tool that could save countless lives. Altitude Angel and Inmarsat, in developing ‘Pop-Up UTM’, will be able to bring connectivity, clarity and automated air traffic control services for UAVs in even the most challenging of circumstances.”
Altitude Angel is able to adapt existing services to work on higher latency/lower bandwidth networks and enable ‘mode switching’ to ensure a robust communications link with deployed vehicles is always maintained. This provides emergency services and first responders with the ability to have a single source point-of-truth where UAVs and piloted aviation can be co-ordinated on the same platform.
About Altitude Angel:
Altitude Angel is an aviation technology company delivering solutions which enable the safer integration and use of fully automated drones into airspace. Through its Airspace Management platform, GuardianUTM O/S, they deliver the essential software platform which enable national deployments of U-space compatible services, safely unlocking the potential of drones and helping national aviation authorities and air navigation service providers to establish new services to support the growth in the drone industry.
The foundation components of GuardianUTM O/S are also available to enable third-party UTM developers to incorporate enterprise-grade data and services into their UTM solutions.
Altitude Angel was founded by Richard Parker in 2014 and is headquartered in Reading, UK. Its developer platform is open and available to all at: https://developers.altitudeangel.com.
GuardianUTM enables drone manufacturers and software developers to connect into a rich, dynamic source of accurate, authoritative and relevant information to support geofencing, while offering enhanced UTM capabilities such as a single interface to multi-country flight authorisation.
The system is being deployed by NATS, the UK’s main air navigation service provider, and was demonstrated as part of ‘Operation Zenith’ in 2018, offering enhanced airport safeguarding and automated approvals to fly in controlled airspace. Altitude Angel is now bringing online functionality to enable drone pilots anywhere in the world to get 1-click access to controlled airspace.
Its companion product, GuardianUTM O/S, supports all the functionality required to deliver national-grade drone traffic management capabilities to any country that wishes to safely unlock the potential of drones.
Introduction video: https://vimeo.com/187780285
Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance. The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite telecommunications networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for more than 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.
Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government, Aviation and Enterprise satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high-quality partner to its customers across the globe.