Can better connectivity standards prevent drones from crashing into buildings?


Canadian startup AirMatrix, who’s dedicated to mapping out drone corridors in the sky, is working on a new project that could impact commercial drone deliveries and public safety operations alike. The company is using funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to figure out, from a telecommunications standpoint, the connectivity requirements for drones to safely operate in complex urban airspace.

The project begins this month as part of The City of Calgary’s Living Labs program. Over a period of 18 months, participating drone pilots will utilize the AirMatrix software platform inside allocated test zones to perform logistics and public services drone operations. The ultimate goal is to build a live drone ecosystem in Calgary.

While drones are quickly becoming part of our day-to-day lives, the use of this emerging technology within urban environments is not free from hiccups. Now, AirMatrix may not be able to take on all the unique challenges associated with specialized drones such as passenger air taxis, the company is positive it can help cities mitigate the risk of drones crashing into buildings due to factors such as imprecise GPS data, faulty LTE/5G connection or an unclear understanding of connectivity requirements for the aircraft.

AirMatrix is now deploying its operator platform in Canada’s Waterloo and Calgary in collaboration with local drone pilots. The data gathered will be anonymized and shared with Transport Canada to support the development of the standards required for the next phase of complex drone operations.

The participating cities are naturally excited to see the project unfold. Monique Nesset, Smart Cities Program Manager at the City of Calgary, says:

As a smart city that embraces fresh ideas and experimentation, the City of Calgary is excited to support innovations in the drone space and is looking forward to supporting AirMatrix’s work to enable safe and efficient drone operations in Calgary while respecting citizen privacy.

Rod Regier, the commissioner of planning for the Region of Waterloo, adds:

This region has a growing aerospace industry as well as an amazing history in communications, so it’s great to see innovative companies like AirMatrix commercializing technology built in Waterloo, scaling across Canada and Internationally.

Read more: DJI Mini 3 Pro drone accidentally listed for sale (again); see photo dump

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