By India Ashok
The prospect of a drone-filled sky is one that is fast approaching—in the not too distant future, the sky will likely be packed with commercial drones. Tech innovators have already come up with various roles for UAVs, including using them for surveillance of areas hit by natural disasters, for environmental research purposes, and for delivering medical supplies to developing nations.
Tech giants like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Google’s parent company Alphabet, among others, are also already vying to dominate the emerging drone delivery industry. Meanwhile, yet another Silicon Valley giant, Uber, is reportedly researching the concept of flying taxis—likely the next step in the evolution of passenger drones.
Are drones safe?
However, the US government, as well as several others in Europe, have raised concerns relating to drone security and safety. Unlike manned aircraft, that is being controlled through air-traffic control systems, there is no such system available for drones yet. Currently, conventional air traffic management systems cannot manage UAVs, since they rely on communication from pilots and radar. In most cases, drones are far too small and fly too close to the ground for the radar to be of much use.
This drives up the likelihood of accidents, which may be caused due to a variety of reasons, including faulty equipment or even hacking. There are also several overarching privacy issues related to drone flight, such as preventing potential delivery drones from gathering the public’s private information, such as home location, work addresses, and more.
While some drone companies are experimenting with artificial intelligence, to design drones that are able to identify other UAVs in the area, preventing potential collisions; at present, there is a definite call for some kind of a centralised system that can help govern and regulate UAVs.
In December, the FAA’s rule mandating the registration of small drones was written into law by a US court. However, tech companies such as Alphabet, Ford, and Amazon have called for the further tightening of drone regulations. Some countries in the EU, including France, Denmark, and the Netherlands are on a “U-space” for commercial drones. Meanwhile, the UK government recently introduced its own automated system to track and monitor autonomous drones.
Artificial Intelligence – the catalyst for smarter air traffic control
Despite the recent steps taken by these governments, there is still a very real need for further organisation of the drone ecosystem. This is where companies like Deep Aero come in—offering a pioneering drone traffic management system that can help organise and regulate the drone economy.
Deep Aero has been developing its UAS (unmanned aircraft system) Traffic Management (UTM) platform, which is an AI-driven, intelligent, autonomous, self-governing system, that will be operational on the blockchain. A UTM is designed to integrate traffic management for both manned and unmanned aircraft and harmonise global UTM systems, facilitating manufacturers, service providers, and end users to use drones safely, while ensuring that the current aviation system suffers no disruption.
Deep Aero’s UTM has been designed to provide information to drones and their operators that will help facilitate a safe journey or the UAVs from take off to reaching its destination. The platform will provide data regarding manned traffic alerts, weather alerts, airspace rules, and locations of any obstacles or critical infrastructure. This data will help ensure that drones are prevented from entering sensitive no-fly zones, and are safe from any potential of collisions in residential or crowded areas. The UTM infrastructure will also allow drones to exchange all this information with other UAVs, manned aircraft, airspace personnel, and air traffic control systems.
A marketplace for Drones
Apart from the drone traffic management system, Deep Aero, which was founded in 2017, is also working on developing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) passenger and cargo drones to help, reduce traffic congestions on roads, facilitate speedy delivery or products, and revolutionise the transportation industry.
The firm has also set up a decentralised drone marketplace, DRONE-MP, on the blockchain that will cater to clients looking for drone-related products and services, connecting buyers and sellers. Interested parties will be able to buy and rent drones, as well as purchase drone parts. The decentralised marketplace will also allow people to hire drone operators for specific projects, as well as book a cargo delivery or a drone taxi.
Do drones have a sustainable future?
Gurmeet Singh, CEO of Deep Aero explained, “We’re heading towards a future in which millions of drones will make transport and logistics much easier and cost-effective than what it is today. At some point in near future, fleets of commercial drones are expected to swarm across skies bridging a gap in passenger as well as cargo travel.”
He further added, “Current airspace management and air traffic flow management systems don’t have the capabilities to handle the type of operations relevant to drones. In addition, the anticipated traffic density of drones is far beyond the capabilities of current air traffic management systems. This is where Artificial Intelligence helps in creating an automated yet synchronised community”.
Although the drone ecosystem is still considered to be an emerging environment, its rapid growth, and the escalated interest it has garnered from international corporations and hobbyists alike, necessitates the existence of the kind of products and services offered by Deep Aero. The firm is committed in providing not just a homogeneous platform for drone traffic management, but also offer consumers with multiple other drone-related platforms. The firm’s products and services can be used by corporations and drone hobbyists alike. Making use of emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI to offer enhanced security and safety of drone flight, Deep Aero is well on its way to becoming a pioneering force to reckon in the drone industry.
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Photo Courtesy: Tiago Galo