Altitude Angel Flies the Flag for Britain in Connected Places Catapult Venture
London, UK: Altitude Angel, the world’s leading UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) technology provider, today announced it is to take part in a Connected Places Catapult (CPC) project, in collaboration with UK Department for Transport (DfT), which will develop, build and test the UK’s Open-Access UTM framework for drone operations.
Funded by the Department for Transport, the nine-month CPC-led project is the second phase in the development of the UK’s Open UTM framework which Altitude Angel helped pioneer with CPC in 2019.
The project aims to develop, build and test several key features of the Open-Access UTM framework and will include the development of communications interfaces and protocols necessary for a range of services to be created, followed by testing and simulations leading to field-trials.
UTM systems are designed to enable the integration of drones into national airspace. As part of the project, Altitude Angel will demonstrate its proven GuardianUTM platform to provide awareness for drones, and drone users, of permanent and dynamic airspace restrictions, awareness of other airspace users, conflict detection and resolution between drones and other aircraft, as well as managing requests for permission to enter or transit through controlled airspace.
The deployment of a safe and reliable UTM platform will permit the UK government and businesses to realise the full potential of drones, allowing for routine 'Beyond Visual Line of Sight' (BVLOS) flights.
Of the five organisations chosen to take part in the project, only Altitude Angel have successfully deployed a UTM platform in a real-world environment. Furthermore, Altitude Angel is the only British business involved, the others being US based organisations.
On being chosen to take part in the Connected Places Catapult project, Richard Ellis, Altitude Angel, Chief Business Officer said: “We are very much looking forward to be resuming our work with CPC to continue validation of the Open UTM framework we pioneered with them in 2019. The live trials will benefit significantly from Altitude Angel’s existing extensive APIs and experience of providing production services across the world. We believe this will form a solid foundation for the UK to establish repeatable and scalable drone operations.”
Dr. Ajay Modha, Principal Technologist at the Connected Places Catapult, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate a UK-specific UTM ecosystem and represents a key step in lowering the technology and operational barriers for UAS operations. A key objective is to demonstrate how this capability can support near term and future markets needs and ambitions. As the Phase 2 of the Future Flight Challenge kicks-off, a key aim of this project is to provide greater insight and actionable data to the UAS community who may be tackling UTM for the first time.”
Future Flight Challenge:
Future Flight is one of several challenge areas set-out by the government’s Industrial Strategy which is a long-term plan to raise the productivity and earning power in the UK. The Future Flight programme is funded by £125 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is expected to be matched by up to £175 million from industry. The challenge will cover four areas of activity:
- Control and regulations including air traffic management
- New operating models
- Ground infrastructure
- Integrating new aircraft with a new aviation system
This challenge aims to revolutionise the way people, goods and services fly and position the UK as a world leader in aviation products and markets worth over $675 billion (£559bn) to 2050.
It will support the development, in the UK, of new technologies from freight-carrying drones to urban air vehicles to hybrid-electric regional aircraft. These new modes of travel will increase mobility, reduce road congestion, improve connectivity, increase UK manufacturing opportunities and help aviation to reduce its environmental impact around the world.
Government Drone Pathfinder Programme:
Connected Places Catapult manages the Drones Pathfinder Programme in partnership with the Department of Transport (DfT) and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).