Honeywell has launched its smallest, lightest satellite communications system, specifically designed for unmanned aerial vehicles. Weighing in at only one kilogram (2.2 pounds), the new system is 90% lighter than Honeywell’s smallest connectivity system and is designed to bring some of the connectivity capabilities enjoyed by larger aircraft to smaller unmanned vehicles.
Satellite communications, or SATCOM, is a broad category of critical technologies that helps connect aircraft to each other and to operators or air traffic control on the ground. Also within this category are technologies that make in-flight Wi-Fi or fleet tracking possible.
“Transportation as we know it is changing rapidly, and the need for connectivity is only becoming more important. As platforms evolve and new vehicles start operating both on land and in the air, it’s critical that satellite communications technology evolves alongside them,” said Amanda King, vice president and general manager, Aerospace Connected Secure Solutions, Honeywell Connected Enterprise.
According to the company press release, the Honeywell Small UAV SATCOM system, powered by Inmarsat’s global satellite communications network, provides unmanned aerial vehicles with global connectivity and real-time video streaming. Seamless connectivity, delivered via the Inmarsat satellite network, supports safe and efficient air traffic management that enables beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) capabilities. BVLOS allows unmanned aircraft to be operated remotely at scale, beyond the pilot’s field of view. This technology can be used for a variety of applications, including unmanned aerial vehicle inspections, where it is estimated to double or triple daily inspection capacity. The combination of the Honeywell Small UAV SATCOM system and Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity can keep vehicles connected even in remote areas or over water where other ground-based communications systems, such as 4G, are not available.
Traditionally, satellite communications systems have been available only for larger aircraft due to the large size, weight and power requirements. Honeywell’s Small UAV SATCOM system can be installed in different locations on the vehicle to accommodate a wider range of platforms while ensuring safety of flight and avoiding unnecessary bulk.
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