Home DRONE NEWSINTERVIEWS Drones World Editor Kartikeya in conversation with Mr. Jia Xu – CEO – Skygrid

Drones World Editor Kartikeya in conversation with Mr. Jia Xu – CEO – Skygrid

by Editor
Drones World Editor Kartikeya in conversation with Mr. Jia Xu - CEO -Skygrid

Could you brief our readers about SkyGrid and your role in leading it?

SkyGrid is at the forefront of integrating autonomous flight into our daily lives, aiming to make it routine, efficient, and incredibly safe. As CEO, my role is to drive this mission forward, ensuring that we build high-assurance services to enable the benefits of autonomous flight for all. My leadership focuses on strategic planning, fostering innovation, and ensuring that our solutions address the critical challenges of safety and security in unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Can you elaborate on SkyGrid’s product offerings and what unique advantages this offers to the emerging urban air mobility ecosystem?

SkyGrid exists to open the sky for autonomous flight. We build high-assurance 3rd party services to unlock the benefits of autonomous flight for all. Our offerings include a suite of high-assurance services for remotely piloted aircraft, encompassing secure data integration, navigation assistance, mission planning tools, and ground-based systems to enhance situational awareness for remote pilots.

The advantage of choosing SkyGrid lies in our holistic approach. We provide a single, cohesive platform that not only addresses technical and operational requirements but also complies with the evolving regulatory landscape. This ensures that our clients can operate at the forefront of urban air mobility, with safety, efficiency, and scalability as their foundation. By simplifying the complexity of autonomous flight operations, SkyGrid is catalyzing the growth and integration of unmanned systems into the national airspace, accelerating the future of advanced air mobility.

How is SkyGrid addressing the challenge of safely integrating autonomous aircraft into existing airspace?

The integration of autonomous aircraft into existing airspace is a multifaceted challenge that SkyGrid is addressing through a variety of innovative approaches:

  • Advanced Airspace Management Solutions: By automating airspace management, we are transforming the way airspace is monitored and controlled. This enables the integration of autonomous aircraft into the airspace without causing disruptions to traditional aviation operations.
  • High-Assurance Third-Party Services: As a robust Provider of Services for UAM (PSU), SkyGrid ensures that every service we offer meets the highest standards of integrity and reliability, fostering trust in the safety and efficiency of autonomous flight.
  • Innovative Traffic Awareness Systems: We acknowledge that space traffic awareness is a critical challenge for UAS operations. SkyGrid is pioneering solutions in this domain to ensure that autonomous aircraft can be aware of their surroundings and take the necessary actions to maintain safety.
  • Scalability and Adaptation to AAM: We are actively working on developing new paradigms for airspace management that can scale with the growth of AAM. This means creating systems that can manage not just a handful of helicopters over a city, but potentially thousands of autonomous aircraft operating simultaneously.
  • Collaboration with Stakeholders: SkyGrid believes in the power of collaboration. We are engaging with regulatory authorities, industry partners, and other stakeholders to ensure that the framework we develop for autonomous flight is robust, scalable, and aligned with global standards.

By addressing these critical areas, SkyGrid is paving the way for a future where autonomous aircraft can coexist seamlessly with manned aircraft, delivering on the promise of advanced aerial mobility and autonomous aviation for economic and social benefit.

How would you like to inspire the Drone-prenuers with your call on ‘Need for Innovation’?

To all drone entrepreneurs out there, the message is clear: innovation is not just needed; it’s imperative. The future of autonomous flight depends on our collective ability to think outside the box, to create solutions that ensure safety, and to embrace the hard work that comes with trailblazing. I encourage you to innovate boldly, take calculated risks, and contribute to the ecosystem that will bring about a new era in aviation.

Can you walk us through the history of SkyGrid, from its inception to its current state, highlighting key milestones in the company’s evolution?

SkyGrid’s journey began in 2018, born from a joint venture between Boeing and SparkCognition, with a shared vision of shaping the future of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and their safe integration into the national airspace.

Initially, our focus was on Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) and command and control for small UAS. We’ve made significant strides by launching sophisticated mission planning tools compatible with iOS and Android, which have been well-received and have provided us with valuable commercial insights and validation.

As we progressed, it became evident that to fully realize the potential of autonomous flight, we needed to prioritize high safety and assurance. This assurance is crucial—it gives us the confidence required to support high-stakes operations and the freedom to operate within existing airspace frameworks. It also establishes the regulatory credibility that is essential for leadership in this space.

Throughout this evolution, we recognized that monetizing UTM services is a complex challenge, primarily because providing safety-critical data and services comes with immense responsibility and requires impeccable accuracy and reliability. At SkyGrid, we’ve chosen to tackle these challenges head-on, as we believe that this commitment to safety and assurance is the foundation for achieving meaningful and transformative outcomes in the aerospace industry.

What makes SkyGrid unique in the advanced aerial mobility (AAM) market?

Our commitment to high-integrity system engineering and advanced airspace management sets us apart in the AAM market. Our key differentiator lies in our ability to integrate the best practices of current avionics and system development into third-party services. This approach is critical as it enables the Pilot in Command (PIC) to make tactical and safety-critical decisions remotely, compensating for the absence of a pilot in the cockpit.

Our solutions are designed to fuse diverse information sources, creating a highly accurate and up-to-date operating picture that drives autonomous operations. This capability is not just about managing the airspace but transforming it to accommodate the future of aviation, which includes a large-scale operation of autonomous flights.

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