uAvoinix has been in the news with more offerings in this year. Tell us about 2023 year offerings so far?
2023 has been a great year for uAvionix. After receiving two (2) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Waivers early in the year, we have continued to expand our SkyLine service and product offerings. The subsequent FAA Exemption approval for BVLOS in September has accelerated demand and more customers are opting for the combination of assured Command and Control (C2) communications Detect and Avoid capabilities that SkyLine offers.
The introduction of truSky for SkyLine provides a private, dual-frequency, validated ADS-B feed that can be trusted so that Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) operators and Air Traffic Control (ATC) can make informed decisions and maintain safe separation between aircraft. The SkyLine ecosystem consists of Airborne Radio Systems (ARS), Ground Radio Systems (GRS) and the first cloud-based network monitoring and optimization software service. With the capability to use multiple communications links such as LTE, aviation-protected C-Band, Satcom and ISM band coupled with inputs from various sources to detect and avoid cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft, the SkyLine solution is a repeatable and scalable solution that meet the risk analysis requirements for flying BVLOS.
What are the products and services currently offering by uAvionix for Civil & Defense unmanned systems?
uAvionix is a leading provider of Command, Navigation, and Surveillance products and services for both Civil and Defense UAS. The venerable ping200X is a TSO certified Mode S ADS-B transponder that provides aviation-grade capabilities for airspace access to both civil and defense UAS. The George autopilot and truFYX GPS bring the same aviation-grade confidence to a flexible autopilot and navigation system built on a familiar architecture while ARS and GRS, such as the muLTElink-5060 and SkyStation-5060 POE, deliver proven assured C2 communications for even the toughest safety cases. All uAvionix UAS products are designed for scalability and compatibility with the SkyLine cloud-based monitoring and management system to provide customers with a configurable and efficient solution for their UAS mission needs.
Most of the BVLOS operations depends on the Frequencies. What are the advanced solutions providing by uAvionix?
uAvionix is a leading provider of Command Non-payload Communications (CNPC) link systems that uniquely adhere to standard specifications defined by RTCA DO-362A and FAA TSO C213a to deliver reliable, deterministic, low-latency and certifiable radio communications for UAS. By employing multiple paths and multiple frequencies, the SkyLine ecosystem is able to avoid a lost-link scenario and mission failure.
For example, when deployed with the muLTElink-5060 and SkyStation-5060 POE, SkyLine actively manages the C2 communications links to optimize the connection over either the available LTE network in the region or the aviation-protected C-Band (5030-5091 MHz) provided by the ARS. Switching between the communications links is automated by the SkyLine software and displayed for the Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC) to provide complete situational awareness. Other SkyLink radios may be added, such as those for Satcom, to provide an additional link option that is again monitored and optimized by the SkyLine cloud-based network solution.
Can you provide a quick overview of the other components which are necessary for BVLOS Operations?
The assured Command and Control (C2) provided by SkyLine is the cornerstone of successful BVLOS operations, but additional capabilities for Detect and Avoid (DAA) and integration with the Ground Control System (GCS) of the RPIC are also needed. Surveillance data such as that provided by the uAvionix pingStation3 or through our partnership with Iris Automation’s Casia G and RADAR sensors provide the required situational awareness of both cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft to properly remain well-clear of other aircraft. SkyLine readily displays this information to the RPIC and can be directly integrated into the GCS via an open application programming interface (API) to create a scalable and reliable technical solution for BVLOS.
Do you help companies stand up their BVLOS programs? How much importance is there for UTM in BVLOS Operation’s?
uAvionix is both a products and services company. Many of our customers are developing their initial UAS programs and platforms. Through thousands of flight-hours spent testing our own products and achieving FAA waivers and exemptions, we have amassed a core set of processes and procedures that improve safety and ensure a successful BVLOS flight. Through our services, we can support customers with recommended technology, processes, and procedures that align with their BVLOS requirements. Initial BVLOS missions are often being flown in remote locations to support infrastructure inspections. For these cases, UTM may play a lesser role. However as more and more BVLOS flights are flown and the density of operations increases, UTM and C2 communications necessary to maintain separation of aircraft will become increasingly important.
Can you give us a couple of BVLOS success stories with your partners?
uAvionix recently received an FAA Exemption approval for BVLOS flights with the Vantis Network. Prior to the exemption, uAvionix and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma completed the first-ever US flights exercising both FAA and FCC approvals for using aviation-protected C-Band to conduct BVLOS operations. Many other operators utilize a variety of uAvionix equipment and services, from pingStation3’s to ping200X’s in the systems they use to meet the waiver requirements for BVLOS.
Recently FAA has extended time for Remote ID Implementation. How does pingRID work? What are the real challenges in implementing in current scenarios? Brief us about the importance of Remote ID?
The uAvionix pingRID is specifically designed to meet the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for Remote ID Broadcast modules. uAvionix applied its proven aviation-grade rigor and know-how to produce a device that meets the FAA Part 89 requirements and adheres to the FAA’s accepted RID-ASTM-F3586-22-NOA-22- 01 Means Of Compliance (MOC). The device is easy to use and does not require configuration or the use of an app. Users must register the device with their aircraft on the FAA website, ensure it’s charged, attach it to the aircraft with included 3M Dual- Lock™ tape, turn it on and be ready to fly. The device will acquire the necessary GPS signal and alert the operator when it’s ready. A solid green LED tells the operator that the aircraft position has been acquired and is ready for take-off. Two-rapid flashes indicates that take-off has been detected and the pingRID is transmitting the necessary Remote ID information for nearby Remote ID receivers.
The delayed enforcement is causing some individuals to delay purchases; however most major enterprises and institutions are proceeding with their compliance plans and contributing to the overall goal of a safer, integrated airspace. This includes retrofitting existing UAS with Remote ID to preserve their investment. A challenge is emerging in the engineering effort required for integration and compliance on more complex platforms. For drones which are not built in mass-production, the differences in engineering and integration basically result in each airframe needing to get an individual Declaration of Compliance (DoC). Additionally, Part 89 of the rule can touch many other components in the highly integrated systems often found on custom UAS platforms, additional engineering work is required to properly comply.
What other technologies you are currently working & do you want to highlight the importance of the same?
Remote ID receiving equipment can vary significantly and performance may be impacted by a number of environmental factors. Accordingly, mobile and fixed antenna versions of Remote ID receivers will be available soon through uAvionix.
What else can we expect in the coming Months/ years from uAvoinix?
The combination of assured C2 Communications and Detect and Avoid capability for both cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft is foundational to a scalable and repeatable infrastructure for UAS operations. As leading innovators in aviation, we are developing Command and Control Communications Service Provider (C2CSP) components and services that will enable UAS operations, especially BVLOS, at price points that do not erode the economic value for small Uncrewed Aircraft Systems.