Mobilicom will be partnering with U.S. drone company Censys Technologies (“Censys”) in a research project for Space Florida USA, focused on developing a communications system for drones and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that can enable safe operation in civilian airspace.
The project is to develop a communications system for autonomous drone and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that aims to address the challenges aviation authorities expect for safe drone and UAV operation in civilian airspace. It will target activities such as drone delivery services, infrastructure inspection, security and law enforcement.
The joint Mobilicom and Censys project was one of 4 winners (from 15 proposals) for Space Florida’s 2020 innovative research and development programs. Mobilicom will spend 2 years working on the project, with a budget of $770,000 for the first year (2020-21). Additional funds are expected in the second year.
Drone communications specialist Mobilicom foresees the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating demand for drone delivery systems. Mobilicom has been exploring opportunities in the market. Together with US drone company Censys Technologies, Mobilicom will undertake a two-year project to build an advanced communication platform which allows drones to be effective while also meeting aviation safety regulations for civilian airspace. The company said regulatory restrictions currently pose the biggest hurdle to the sector’s development.
“The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the need for fast delivery, without human involvement in the delivery. This has led to accelerated testing and deployment programs for the use of drones in several fields,” said Mobilicom CEO, Oren Elkayam. “The biggest hurdle for mass drone deployment in civil applications remains regulatory requirements imposed by aviation authorities and this solution is another step to solving these issues.”
“The solution being developed with Censys is solving a major reliability aspect, which is a focus of the US Federal Aviation Authority. It will enable the drone and UAS market to continue to grow by addressing the key needs and trends of autonomous beyond line-of-sight operation.”
Mobilicom will receive $770,000 in funding for the first year of research, as part of a joint spending initiative between Space Florida and the Israel Innovation Authority. It will develop an Autonomous Platforms Dual Datalink, allowing for the automatic selection of the best communication channel for a given range or location, which will be embedded in the Censys drones for flight-testing. Mobilicom also commented that if the project is successful Censys may look to purchase the resulting technology for use in its drone fleet. “There is further potential for uptake by other drone operators and manufacturers,” Mobilicom added.