Altavian Works Alongside Northern Plains Test Site for NASA

February 13, 2018

Altavian, Inc., a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems and components, announced today that it is working with Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) to help test NASA’s Unmanned aircraft systems Traffic Management (UTM) system. Altavian and NPUASTS will work to develop technology related to UTM while a third partner, iSight RPV Services will provide flight test services for the project on the Nova F7200 small unmanned aerial system (sUAS).

NASA has been working with technology leaders in the sUAS industry to develop a UTM system that can help safely integrate drones into the national air space. A UTM is considered an integral part to regulating drones on a national level, as well as beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.

Altavian is working to develop dual communication systems for the Nova F7200. Point-to-point radio frequency communication is the most common method for sUAS-to-operator communication and is in use by nearly every drone. This technology is well suited for high-rate aircraft telemetry or payload links (such as HD video) but has limitations when the sUAS is flown further away from the operator. By implementing a satellite link, the sUAS will be able to send low-rate telemetry messages back and forth to the operator anywhere in the world, and will no longer be limited in range by local radio frequency.

In parallel to this, Altavian will be updating its Ground Control Station software, Flare, to communicate with the updated UTM system. Altavian and NPUASTS have previously conducted flight tests with Technical Capability Level 1 in early 2016. These upcoming tests will be the third iteration of the UTM system. By integrating Flare with the new UTM system, NASA will be able to see where Altavian aircraft are at all times during testing.

The technology being developed could prove invaluable to preparing Altavian sUAS for BVLOS operations in the future. The project will run from now into March and April of 2018.

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