Urban SkyWays: The First Commercial Drone Network Demonstration

Posted by Betsy Lillian on October 28, 2014 No Comments
Categories : UAV Safety

Skyward, a software platform for the aerial robotics ecosystem, has introduced what it says is the first end-to-end demonstration of a commercial drone network operated with full regulatory and insurance compliance.

The Urban SkyWays Project is a partnership between aerial robotics manufacturers, commercial operators and airspace management agencies. It will demonstrate urban commercial package delivery and emergency response by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Skyward is partnering with NASA to incorporate technology and research from their UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system into the Urban Skyways Project. The first demonstrations will take place in Las Vegas; Vancouver, British Columbia; London; and Portland, Ore.

“SkyWard is stepping up to engage federal, state and local partners. This technology is already in use. Portland is pleased to support a local company in its effort to understand people’s concerns about it and bring order to the skies,” says Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Urban SkyWays partners include (in alphabetical order) the following: 3DRobotics, Accuas, the City of Las Vegas, the City of Portland, DJI Innovations, Drone Deploy, NASA, Pix4D and SkyFutures.

Transport Risk Management Inc. is the official insurance partner for Urban SkyWays. Insurance for all U.S. flights will be underwritten by Global Aerospace, a global provider of aviation insurance backed by Berkshire Hathaway and Munich Re (among others).

Skyward notes that all flights are compliant with jurisdictional regulations and will operate under the appropriate authorization, including Certificate of Authorization (COA) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)? Special Flight Operation Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada, or permission from the U.K’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to operate small UAS.

According to Skyward, the project will showcase what is possible with aerial robotics and demonstrate the standard of professional aviation safety needed to develop commercial systems that the public can trust. The company expects demonstration flights to begin in Vancouver later this fall, Las Vegas in the spring, and London and Portland in the first half of next year.

“The airspace is a great place to build a new highway,” says SkyWard CEO Jonathan Evans. “Bringing together global partners solidifies the magnitude of this project and is the first step in enabling the Aerial Robotics Network and realizing its potential.”

Skyward is a member of the recently formed Small UAV Coalition, a group of technology companies looking to pave the way for commercial, philanthropic and civil use of small UAVs.

More information on the Urban SkyWays project can be found here.

Photo courtesy of Skyward

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