New Swedish consortium to trial ADS-B-based UTM system for rescue helicopters and BVLOS drone flights

Skysense, a provider of airspace surveillance equipment, Wireless@KTH, KTH centre for wireless systems and the Swedish Sea Rescue Society (SSRS), the non governmental organization (NGO) providing maritime search and rescue services in Swedish waters, have set up a consortium to allow for cooperative operations involving manned aviation and Beyond Visual Line-Of-Sight (BVLOS) drone flights.

The SSRS is actively investigating the benefits of using drones to make search and rescue missions safer and more efficient. The SSRS’ need to fly BVLOS has been the impetus for the consortium, according to Skysense. The consortium has conceived a system called Ground-Based Sense And Avoid (GBSAA) – making drones visible and able to detect manned aircraft while alleviating 1090 MHz spectrum saturation.

GBSAA is based on the principle that drones share ground-based ADS-B receivers/transmitters. The receiver enables the drone pilot to “see” (detect) and avoid manned aircraft. The transmitter is used to continuously broadcast the position of the drone to “be seen” by manned aircraft and air traffic control. To “see” and “be seen” is key for drones to safely co-exist with manned aircraft and enable BVLOS operations.

“We believe that live drone imagery could be a great help for our voluntary rescue crews. A Ground-Based Sense And Avoid system could be an important piece of the puzzle to make these drone flights a reality”, says Fredrik Falkman, Head of Innovation at SSRS.

“We foresee a not so distant future where thousands of drones will occupy the skies and hence a reliable system for making drones visible and detectable by manned aircrafts, will be needed”, says Claes Beckman, Director of Wireless@KTH.”, says Claes Beckman, Director of Wireless@KTH.

Robby de Candido, CEO of Skysense says, “For the drone industry to take the next quantum leap, permissions to operate BVLOS must become the rule than the exception. Our view is that GBSAA enables BVLOS applications just that – to become the rule than the exception.”

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