BVLOS drone operations open door for more innovative applications and expansion
Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations are key for future commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) use cases, including public safety, industrial inspection and urban air mobility. Frequentis has partnered with mobile network connectivity specialist and start-up, Dimetor, to enable network connectivity for command and control (C2) and payload data links to ensure reliable and consistent data sharing.
The initial introduction of UAV’s to the airspace has been limited to visual line of sight (VLOS) operations. To extend commercial drone applications, BVLOS operations are essential for governmental entities as well as commercial deployments and many countries are now amending their drone policies to allow such flights. This requires accurate, dynamic, and reliable telecommunication data and it is important to have this information from a single source.
So far, the use of network connectivity and associated data have not been standardised for pre-flight assessment or regulated for operational use. However, recent drone trials in Finland and Estonia for the Gulf of Finland (GOF) U-space project uncovered this requirement and need for connectivity to enable consistent data sharing between the UAV and the UTM system.
The connectivity platform from Dimetor, AirborneRFTM, is deployed at the operational data centers of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), processing highly confidential network data for assuring cellular connectivity for UAV operations. Flight planning tools like Frequentis’ CADAS-ATS and other U-space services can use the constraints in the pre-tactical/tactical phase of a BVLOS drone flight and either approve or reject the proposed flight plan. AirborneRF can also be used to demonstrate network capabilities to airspace regulators and UAV service providers.
The partnership between Frequentis and Dimetor then enables the MNOs to seamlessly integrate the connectivity information into the aeronautical information management database (AIMdb), and thus to become an integral part of the developing ecosystem for commercial BVLOS drone operations.
“By partnering with Dimetor, we can further explore and advance our work in the field of ATM and UTM. Through this cooperation, we will exchange our knowledge and experiences and work together to strengthen and develop the future airspace ecosystem, enabling the provision of critical data for safe BVLOS drone flights. This partnership is a significant step towards enabling our customers to keep pace with the additional growth by minimising operating costs.” says Hannu Juurakko, Frequentis Chairman of the ATM Executive Team.
The agreement between Frequentis and Dimetor highlights the unified commitments to providing safety-critical services ensuring highest quality and safety for BVLOS and highly automated drone operations based on connectivity information.
“At Dimetor we are delighted to be partnering with Frequentis. This will enable an integrated solution bringing together the 3D cellular connectivity information for safe BVLOS operations with Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) and UTM/ATM systems – on global scale”, says Thomas Wana, Dimetor Co-founder and CTO.
Frequentis and Dimetor will enable drone powered business operations with a total addressable market value over 127billion USD forecasted by PricewaterhouseCoopers International (PwC).