Altitude Angel has announced it will take part in the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) project along with the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to build and test the Open-Access UTM framework for the country’s future drone operations.

The project is being funded by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and aims to develop, build and test key features of the Open-Access UTM framework, including the development of communications interfaces and protocols required for an unmanned traffic management (UTM) system to work correctly.

The deployment of a safe and reliable UTM system will allow the UK to fully use the benefits of drones in the future and allow for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights.

Altitude Angel is one of five companies chosen to be a part of the project, but it stands out from the rest as the only one to have a UTM solution currently in the wild.

Richard Ellis, Altitude Angel’s Chief Business Officer, had the following to say on being a part of the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) project:

“We are very much looking forward to be resuming our work with CPC to continue validation of the Open UTM framework we pioneered with them in 2019.  The live trials will benefit significantly from Altitude Angel’s existing extensive APIs and experience of providing production services across the world.  We believe this will form a solid foundation for the UK to establish repeatable and scalable drone operations.”

Dr. Ajay Modha, Principal Technologist at the Connected Places Catapult, followed up with the following statement:

“This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate a UK-specific UTM ecosystem and represents a key step in lowering the technology and operational barriers for UAS operations. A key objective is to demonstrate how this capability can support near term and future markets needs and ambitions. As the Phase 2 of the Future Flight Challenge kicks-off, a key aim of this project is to provide greater insight and actionable data to the UAS community who may be tackling UTM for the first time.”

Altitude Angel

The news comes after Altitude Angel announced a partnership with Inmarsat that allows its unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform, Pop-Up UTM, to be quickly set up when and where required, removing the need for building ground-based infrastructure. A few weeks ago, Altitude Angel welcomed its first partner to the program, Spark Mobility, and later added Sugu Drones.

The system will specifically be deployed where a Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flight is taking place and removes the need for infrastructure on the ground to be built. Pop-Up UTM also utilizes Inmarsat’s global network of satellites, meaning the system can be deployed around the world.

GuardianUTM allows software developers and drone manufacturers to access tools and data that are accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to better understand active and past drone missions. The platform helps drone pilots follow local flight rules and avoid mid-air collisions with a dynamic alert system. GuardianUTM also includes data from local air authorities such as altitude restrictions, No-Fly Zones, and NOTAMs to ensure the operation is as safe as possible.

GuardianUTM O/S allows airports to define rules for the airspace easily to ensure drones and manned aircraft can share airspace in the best way possible. The platform allows pilots to gain access to the airspace and ensures the flights are within the rules. The airport also has direct access to the pilots through the system.

Photo: Altitude Angel

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