Leading European unified traffic management (UTM) specialist Altitude Angel has gotten the nod from authorities in Sweden to deploy its GuardianUTM Enterprise system during trials at the country’s largest drone operations testing area.
Altitude Angel will be using its UTM platform during continuing trials at the 2,400km² Drone Center Sweden in the town of Västervik, on the country’s southeastern coast. In doing so, the company will become a part of Project PNK – short for positioning, navigation, and communications. That will test and evaluate the feasibility and potential advantages of using mobile telecom networks to manage the various aspects of UTM in drone operation. The specific PNK4UTM program will test the approach in monitoring and orchestrating various modes of uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) operation, including beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights.
The PNK4UTM trials are overseen by the Swedish Transport Administration and its Research Institute of Sweden partner. Other participants include Drone Center Sweden’s operators, companies Telia and Ericsson, and The Swedish Network of Permanent GPS Reference Station. They will all integrate Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM Enterprise system into their operation with the objective of enabling successful and safe BVLOS drone operations.
Optimizing communication assets to shape future UTM for drone operations
That particular program is part of a wider effort seeking to assemble actors from academia and private and public sectors in a common project to develop services, products, technologies, and processes to serve as the foundation of next-generation drone operation and UTM systems. The goal is to prepare Swedish society and business to respond to fully exploit the potentials of advanced air mobility as craft and services become reality in everyday life and business.
“Sweden has a rich history in developing and taking-to-market world-leading technology,” says Karim Cosslett, Altitude Angel’s sales and partnership manager. “To have GuardianUTM Enterprise chosen by one of the country’s most prestigious institutions, which is developing the next generation of delivery and urban air mobility solutions, is very exciting.
PNK4UTM project manager Åke Sivertun says that while Sweden has developed rich and varied communications assets, it looks to Altitude Angel to mine those for the best ways of conceiving and developing the country’s UTM for drone operations.
“Given Sweden’s diverse geography, it has over many years built a large, mature communications network,” he says. “However, this network is currently not optimized to communicate with UAVs which are operating at an altitude of between 10 and 120m, so the coverage must be verified and the cells, in some cases, adjusted to achieve the desired coverage. New radio frequencies in 4-5G provide great opportunities to add services to the networks which are important for many target groups, including autonomous vehicles.”
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