Do commercial drones need an operator nearby to make deliveries?

Delivering vital supplies at low altitude during a major humanitarian crisis, helping police track fleeing criminals, and even dropping pizzas a few miles away in an urban environment are all things drones will do in the very future. close.

Much of the technology for these key civilian tasks, made possible by advanced computer algorithms, automation and radio frequency transmission, is here today in some capacity. However, airspace for low-altitude drones must be “deconfined” to ensure safety and new computer technologies must allow “beyond visual line of sight” operation for commercial drones.

Given the current pace of market expansion for small unmanned systems capable of performing a wide range of tasks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working intensively with commercial and defense companies like Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S) to promote safe and conflict-free systems beyond line-of-sight drone flight.

“Unmanned traffic management capability is about the future. It’s a new megatrend for electric-powered vehicles, whether they’re small drones, delivering packages from Amazon or UPS, or large passenger or cargo planes that are powered by electricity, they’re all going to fly relatively low, from the surface to maybe 400 feet for small package delivery drones. It will likely surface at five or 10,000 feet for drones carrying passengers,” said Kip Spurio, technical director of air traffic systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space. national interest in an interview.

The ability to navigate and fly beyond visual line of sight is what Spurio has called the “holy grail” of future small civilian drone flight. For now, Spurio explained, low-altitude commercial drones must maintain “line of sight” connectivity at all points of their flight path, meaning operators would either have to move close to the drone or position others to pick it up and follow it. an extended flight.

“We are working with a few delivery operators, working to deal with the FAA and getting approval beyond visual line of sight. It’s the holy grail for this whole economic structure to work,” Spurio said.

Using state-of-the-art Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar technology, cloud computing, and advanced automation, RI&S has designed a new end-to-end system designed to enable conflict-free, secure, and beyond low-altitude drone flight. direct visibility. Technically, the effort is to integrate aircraft-grade automation platforms and detect and avoid capabilities to enable high volumes of low-altitude surveillance and cloud-enabled computational data storage and analysis capable to merge, organize, analyze and distribute critical details for the drone. the operators.

Kris Osborn is the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a highly trained expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Osborn also worked as an on-air military anchor and specialist on national television networks. He has appeared as a guest military pundit on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Picture: Reuters.

About Julie Gray

Check Also

Analysis: Soaring tanker freight rates are driving up fuel costs in Mexico

HOUSTON/MEXICO CITY, Aug 4 (Reuters) – High rates around the world for transporting oil are …