Professional drone maker, senseFly, has teamed up with the popular aviation navigation app, Air Navigation Pro, to launch Safer Together. This joint initiative has been designed to address one of the biggest issues facing the General Aviation (GA) and unmanned aircraft communities: the risk of mid-air collision.
Safer Together will make the skies a safer place by providing GA pilots and drone operators with awareness of each other’s airborne activities, giving them the knowledge they need to take any actions necessary to avoid mid-air incidents around 200 – 400 feet (60 – 120 m) above ground level, where most light-weight drones currently fly. This initiative is fully in-line with senseFly’s recent involvement in Global UTM (UAS Traffic Management) and JARUS discussions.
The project will be rolled out during 2016 in two phases:
Phase 1: Drone awareness for GA pilots
In the coming weeks, senseFly will release new GA functionality for its eMotion flight planning software. This will enable operators of its drones—such as the albris inspection UAS and popular eBee mapping platforms—to create a special ‘advisory’ when activating their automated drone flights.
Then, eMotion will transmit this advisory—a batch of flight information—via the internet, to Air Navigation Pro’s server. Air Navigation Pro will then push this information out to all smart devices of connected Air Navigation users, enabling them to see details of the senseFly operator’s planned drone working area, such as its location, likely timings, height above the ground, type of drone, etc.—both prior to, and during* the GA pilot’s flight.
Phase 2: GA awareness for drone operators
In the coming months, senseFly drone operators will, in turn, gain the ability to view the Air Navigation users’ flights in real time**—making the Safer Together project the first system to provide bi-directional awareness of aerial activity for GA pilots and drone operators.
“At senseFly our background is in aviation,” said Cyril Halter, the COO of senseFly and a graduate of the Empire Test Pilot School. “Many of our founders and team members are pilots, so we understand how crucial ‘see and avoid’ awareness is for operational safety. Since we approach the development of our drones from a safety-first standpoint, it was a logical next step for us to join forces with Air Navigation Pro on Safer Together. This collaboration is about bridging the awareness gap between operators of our UAS—such as civil engineers, surveyors and agricultural professionals—and Air Navigation Pro’s community of GA users.”
“With the increasing number of vehicles in the air, it is essential that we focus on the improvement and awareness of mid-air safety,” said Johann Huguenin, the CEO of Air Navigation Pro. “It all starts with communication between the drone-operator and the pilot, which we are making possible with Safer Together. With senseFly’s aviation-style dedication to safety, and its global customer reach, it was the obvious partner for us to collaborate with first. However we strongly urge other drone makers to get in touch too, so that together we can continue to expand the benefits that Safer Together offers by allowing GA pilots to view the activity of every drone operation, whatever the brand of UAS”.