Altitude Angel has launched a Conflict Resolution Service (CRS) that provides independent information directly to drone operators. The service addresses both the planning and tactical phases of flight, including routing adjustments to maintain separation standards during flight. Launched in two phases, the Strategic service comes online on 23 July, followed by the Tactical service in late September 2019.
According to a company press release the service is available via Altitude Angel’s developer platform, and is powered by its GuardianUTM operating system services. It is designed to support large numbers drones operating in the sky simultaneously by identifying where and when a conflict might arise either pre-flight or during flight. Drones and drone pilots can store flight plans using the globally-distributed CRS service without needing to exchange private or potentially sensitive data with each other, and receive immediate pre-flight conflict resolution advice. Previously, unplanned obstacles or airspace closures would have been managed by a human pilot, whereas CRS helps implementers to react in a coordinated and predictable manner, contributing to increased airspace safety.
CRS will come in two classes:
Strategic CRS provides conflict resolution information to a drone operator during the flight planning phase (pre-flight phase) of the operation by comparing it to other previously submitted flight plans, against ground and airspace geofenced areas available in Altitude Angel’s worldwide data feeds. The system will then propose alterations to the take-off time and/or route to eliminate the conflict, suggesting minimally invasive changes to permit the mission to continue unobstructed. Developers and drone manufacturers can utilise CRS to securely share flight plan data and opt-in to ‘global conflict resolution’, where all flight plans which have been shared will be checked for conflicts. ‘Private’ modes exist for fleet operators who only want to check for conflicts against their own drones or customers.
Tactical CRS will provide information to drone pilots or the drone itself to ensure separation is maintained during the in-flight phase. The dynamic system will continuously monitor the airspace around an aircraft for the ‘unexpected’ such as other aerial vehicles or changes to airspace (such as a Temporary Flight Restriction/Dynamic Geofence around a police incident). After identifying a potential conflict, CRS will make the necessary routing adjustments, allowing the drone to maintain an appropriate separation standard between other airspace users or fly around restricted airspace so it can continue safely (and efficiently) to its destination.
Altitude Angel CEO Richard Parker says: “The tactical component of CRS answers the biggest challenge BVLOS flight brings; how do you deal with the unexpected. Being able to predict and resolve conflict mid-flight by providing appropriate and timely guidance will revolutionise automated flight. CRS is one of the critical building blocks on which the drone and automated flight industries will grow.”
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