PrecisionHawk selects Sierra Wireless to enable drone safety and traffic management

Sierra Wireless, a provider of fully integrated device-to-cloud solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT),has announced that PrecisionHawk has selected Sierra Wireless AirPrime® MC Series embedded modules to enable global LTE connectivity for its Low Altitude Traffic and Airspace Safety (LATAS) platform.

The platform is designed to enable safe drone operation on a broad scale. A May 2016 PwC report, Clarity from Above, projects the global commercial drone market to grow to more than $127 billion by 2020.

LATAS is the only platform to link drones, 3D ground data and live manned aircraft data from the Federal Aviation Administration and global authorities into a single system that tells commercial or hobbyist drone operators when and where it’s safe to fly.

Sierra Wireless AirPrime MC7354 modules are currently installed in drones operating in Australia and New Zealand, providing critical real-time connectivity to locate drones and pinpoint their positions at all times, and send notifications to users about in-flight hazards, such as nearby aircraft and airspace restrictions.

Tyler Collins

Operating over worldwide cellular networks and satellites, the LATAS platform connects leading airspace management technologies, such as sense and avoid, geofencing and aircraft tracking, into a service package for commercial and recreational drone operators, as well as regulators and air traffic controllers.

LATAS allows users to request, track and verify all flight operations from a central location and automatically report flight paths back to aviation authorities.

“As tens of thousands of new operators join the drone space around the world, our goal is to provide an easy to use and reliable safety tool that gives drone operators a complete picture of their surroundings and how those surroundings are changing in real-time,” said Tyler Collins, VP Airspace at PrecisionHawk. “This wouldn’t be possible without the cutting edge innovation in cellular connectivity that Sierra Wireless provides.”

Current radar technologies and ADS-b reporting systems are unable to locate and track drones due to their small size and the low altitudes at which they fly.

Dan Schieler

This makes it difficult for traffic controllers to manage commercial and hobbyist drone operations while maintaining safe and effective separation with the existing infrastructure of ground and air obstacles. The LATAS platform can be installed plug and play or integrated into drone circuit systems during manufacturing.

“We’re proud to be supplying the first cellular modules flying on drones to make the skies safer,” said Dan Schieler, SVP and general manager, OEM Solutions, Sierra Wireless. “With near-ubiquitous coverage, cellular connectivity is key to innovative applications like PrecisionHawk’s LATAS being able to scale across the globe.”

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