Inmarsat and Altitude Angel to offer UAV air traffic management

11 June 2020: Inmarsat and Altitude Angel, the world’s leading unmanned traffic management technology (UTM) provider, have announced a collaboration to develop and deliver advanced flight tracking and management capability for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The two companies will build on Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM platform to jointly develop a Pop-Up UTM capability that can be deployed anywhere it is required to manage beyond visual line of sight UAV flights, without the need for ground-based communications infrastructure. By utilising Inmarsat’s world-leading global network of satellites and leveraging its substantial experience in air traffic management communications, Altitude Angel’s Pop-Up UTM can be accessed rapidly and deployed worldwide.

The Pop-Up UTM will be developed initially to serve blue light emergency services and first responders who need aerial surveillance rapidly with little notice, with a commercial, industry-focused product to follow soon after. Through this technology, emergency services will be able to manage UAVs remotely, increasing their range of safe operations in mixed airspace containing manned and unmanned vehicles.

Ground-breaking technology

Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Director of UAVs & UTM, said: “Inmarsat is excited to partner with Altitude Angel on this ground-breaking technology, which allows UAV flights to operate quickly, efficiently and safely. Inmarsat is uniquely positioned to act as a catalyst for the safe and rapid growth of the Unmanned Aerial Systems sector due to our state-of-the-art global satellite network, decades of experience in keeping aircraft safe through communications, navigation and surveillance services, and relationships with ATM providers worldwide. We also bring first-hand experience of working with international aid organisations to deliver emergency communications in remote areas.”

Phil Binks, Altitude Angel’s Head of Air Traffic Management, added: “The ability to almost instantly pop-up safe, secure and fully operational UTM platforms in any environment, at any time, will give first responders, blue light services and aid organisations a valuable new tool that could save countless lives. Altitude Angel and Inmarsat, in developing Pop-Up UTM, will be able to bring connectivity, clarity and automated air traffic control services for UAVs in even the most challenging of circumstances.”

Altitude Angel is able to adapt existing services to work on higher latency/lower bandwidth networks and enable mode switching to ensure a robust communications link with deployed vehicles is always maintained. This provides emergency services and first responders with the ability to have a single source point-of-truth where UAVs and piloted aviation can be co-ordinated on the same platform.

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