Space Newsfeed

Satellite Communications Technology

Altitude Angel and Inmarsat to offer air traffic management for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

(11 June 2020 - Altitude Angel) Altitude Angel and Inmarsat today announced a collaboration to develop and deliver advanced flight tracking and management capability for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones.

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 (BVLOS) UAV flights, without the need for ground-based communications infrastructure. By utilising Inmarsat’s sector-leading global network of satellites and leveraging its substantial experience in Air Traffic Management (ATM) communications, Altitude Angel’s Pop-Up UTM can be accessed rapidly and deployed worldwide.

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

altitude 1

Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Director of UAVs & UTM, said: “We are 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 UAS (Unmanned Aircraft 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, 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 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.”

In order to provide 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, 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.

About Inmarsat

Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance. The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite telecommunications networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for more than 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.

Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government, Aviation and Enterprise satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high-quality partner to its customers across the globe.

Altitude Angel

Altitude Angel is an aviation technology company delivering solutions which enable the safer integration and use of fully automated drones into airspace. Through its Airspace Management platform, GuardianUTM O/S, they deliver the essential software platform which enable national deployments of USpace compatible services, safely unlocking the potential of drones and helping national aviation authorities and air navigation service providers to establish new services to support the growth in the drone industry.

The foundation components of GuardianUTM O/S are also available to enable third-party UTM developers, drone manufacturers and software developers to incorporate enterprise-grade data and services into their UTM solutions.

Altitude Angel was founded by Richard Parker in 2014 and is headquartered in Reading, UK.