AirMap Forms New Partnerships in Support of Safe Drone Operations

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AirMap and Honeywell have teamed up to develop a new drone tracking solution to provide airspace safety authorities with situational awareness of manned and unmanned aircraft operations within an airspace system.

Together, the companies aim to develop a cost-effective hardware device to allow for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to maintain consistent communication with a UAS traffic management (UTM) system. UTM is made up of technologies and services designed to maintain safe separation of drones and other aircraft and objects in low-altitude airspace via the exchange of mission-critical data and telemetry information.

The drone tracking solution co-developed by AirMap and Honeywell will support multiple communication options, including 4G and satellite in areas without 4G coverage, for the broadcast of real-time drone telemetry feeds to a UTM system. The AirMap UTM platform ingests telemetry feeds from a variety of hardware- and software-based solutions for visualization, monitoring and deconfliction by air navigation service providers and other relevant authorities.

“The AirMap UTM platform is designed to provide a real-time operating picture of the airspace for both manned and unmanned aircraft,” says Ben Marcus, AirMap’s chairman and co-founder. “We’ve partnered with Honeywell to deliver an easy-to-use, cost-effective and drone-agnostic device as a practical way to start managing drone traffic in any environment today.”

Honeywell, an investor in AirMap, uses AirMap’s application programming interfaces for industrial customers in operations such as inspecting power lines and downstream oil and gas equipment.

The tracker device is available today as a proof of concept for testing.

Separately, AirMap has also teamed up with Fortem Technologies, an airspace awareness, safety and security company, to collaborate on an an integrated solution that will allow for the safe operation of drones within geofences, while also enforcing no-fly zones in cities and around airports and other critical infrastructure.

According to the partners, the Fortem and AirMap collaboration follows the UTM and U-Space industry model of a UAS service supplier (USS) and supplemental data service provider (SDSP). Fortem SkyDome, enabled by Fortem TrueView radar, acts as the SDSP, a data service platform for drone applications. Fortem SkyDome collects and aggregates real-time airspace data, creating corridors and geofences in the sky. AirMap acts as the USS by publishing airspace rules to operators, drone manufacturers and app developers to stay within the Fortem corridors and away from the Fortem-protected no-fly zones.

Functionally, Fortem SkyDome is designed to detect all airborne objects, cooperative or uncooperative, and share this information with the AirMap UTM platform, matching detected objects against their known operations. Any aircraft detected by Fortem SkyDome that is not participating within the set guidelines in the UTM system is distinguished as rogue for immediate intervention by appropriate authorities or the Fortem DroneHunter.

AirMap will further use Fortem TrueView radar data to provide risk mitigation services to enable beyond visual line of sight operations.

“Fortem digitizes the airspace above and around infrastructures, campuses, venues and cities to enable safe and reliable drone services,” says Timothy Bean, CEO of Fortem Technologies. “Our low-cost, networkable system supports USSes like AirMap to pave the way for drone package delivery, autonomous people transportation and general urban air mobility.”

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