Airspace management technology group SkyGrid has introduced an application that it says will automate all phases of unmanned aircraft operations. Although the SkyGrid Flight Control app, launched on September 29, is initially intended for smaller drones, the Texas-based company says it intends to adapt the system to support autonomous operations with more complex advanced air mobility aircraft.
The app uses artificial intelligence to help unmanned aircraft operators plan and execute missions, after first doing autonomous surveillance on the area of operation. It can support missions such as search and rescue, disaster response, perimeter surveillance, and site inspections.
According to SkyGrid CEO Amir Husain, SkyGrid Flight Control avoids the need for drone operators to manually check the status of airspace and other mission-related information through multiple tools in order to complete the required plan for FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LANAAC) covering flights at or below 400 feet. “Recognizing this challenge, SkyGrid has minimized the burden on drone operators by creating one solution that automates airspace, flights, and insights,” he commented.
The new app is supported by SkyGrid’s AerialOS operation and includes the following features: airspace intelligence (maps of airspace classes, boundaries, and temporary flight restrictions, etc.); ground intelligence (displays of population density, obstacles, elevation, etc.); advanced weather data; real-time airspace authorization (through integration with the LANAAC 4.0 system); automated mission planning (area exploration; waypoints; and customized mission parameters such as speed, altitude, and location); autonomous flight execution; and object recognition supported by artificial intelligence computer vision.
SkyGrid, a joint venture between Boeing’s NeXt division and SparkCognition, said that it will be able to introduce more advanced features, such as multiple-aircraft operations, rerouting capability, and geo-fencing. Earlier this month, Boeing announced its intention to close the NeXt division but indicated that SkyGrid will continue to operate as a separate enterprise.