Altitude Angel and Inmarsat have entered into a partnership to develop and deliver a “pop-up” advanced flight tracking and management capability for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that can be easily redeployed to manage Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights without the need for ground-based communications infrastructure.
The new solution will be built on Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM platform, and utilise Inmarsat’s global network of satellites and leverage the company’s substantial experience in Air Traffic Management (ATM) communications.
The service aims initially to address the unmanned traffic management needs of blue light emergency services and first responders who require rapidly deployed aerial surveillance at short notice, and a commercial, industry-focused version will follow soon after. Through this technology, emergency services will be able to remotely manage UAVs, increasing their range of safe operations in mixed airspace of manned and unmanned aircraft.
In order to provide emergency services and first responders with a single platform for the co-ordination of manned and unmanned aviation, Altitude Angel is able to adapt existing services to work on higher latency/lower bandwidth networks and enable mode switching to ensure that a robust communications link with all deployed vehicles is always maintained.
Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Director of UAVs & UTM, commented: “We are 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 UAS 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 ATM providers worldwide. We also bring first-hand experience of working with international aid organisations to deliver emergency communications in remote areas.”
Phil Binks, Head of Air Traffic Management at Altitude Angel, 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 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.”