Upcoming regulations will require unmanned aerial systems (UAS, drones) to have remote electronic identification (eID) and tracking capabilities. The UAS thereby broadcasts a unique identifier along with its position by means of radio, enabling detection, identification, and tracking of the vehicle. Reliable identification is an essential element of airspace and traffic management, and thus a key pillar in U-space foundation services. The benefits include added security, higher safety standards, increased accountability, and easier access to airspace.
The open FLARM UAS eID standard (download) builds on the proven FLARM protocol with over 35.000 installations in manned aircraft worldwide. Based on proven vehicle-to-vehicle radio technology, it offers unparalleled scalability while not requiring any infrastructure or expensive cellular modems. Secure signatures based on public-key cryptography offer a significant advantage over other proposals. The standard implements key requirements of the EASA, FAA and national regulations drafts. It is designed to be simple to implement, cheap to build, easy to test, free of licenses. Manufacturers can use existing radio hardware, or inexpensively add the required COTS hardware to start using the standard.
For fast time-to-market, we offer development kits specifically for UAS as well as a reference design for eID. Contact us for details.
While commercial applications for drones are on the rise, most drones today are small and operate in the close vicinity of the human pilot and under direct line of sight. They are restricted to flying low and well clear of airports, urban areas, and airspace used by manned traffic. Future commercial applications will require large-scale operation in shared airspace, well beyond (visual) line of sight. UAV systems will be highly automated with minimal interaction by human operators. The vehicles will be larger, faster, heavier, and more intelligent, with the capability to resolve complex situations autonomously.
Business models, technology, and regulation all have to evolve under significant pressure. At the same time, traditional airspace users and the general public have significant interests to be taken into account: Safety in the air and on the ground, security and resilience to malicious intents, full accountability for all users of airspace, and affordability by means of a thriving, competitive ecosystem.
For these conflicting interests to meet, UAS will have to fulfil even stricter standards than we have in manned aviation. Reliable detect-and-avoid is a core technology needed for autonomous UAS operation. Human pilots are not capable of visually identifying even a UAV of reasonable size, thus the latter has to give way, always.
The FLARM system was invented by active pilots and launched through a crowd-funding campaign in 2004. It has since gained fast acceptance and high penetration in the entire aeronautical community and is known as a safe, efficient and affordable technology. Today, a broad range of solutions for manned and unmanned aviation is available. Solutions include electronic conspicuity, secure e-identification, traffic sensors, multi-sensor fusion, autonomous detect-and-avoid, ground tracking infrastructure and services, data uplink, IFF, and air risk assessment consultancy.
Our technology is used in many manned aircraft and rotorcraft, and works anytime, anywhere and independent of infrastructure. FLARM is the most popular cooperative traffic avoidance solution in the lower airspace. In Europe, over half of all registered aircraft have a combined FLARM OUT (transmit) and IN (receive) product onboard. FLARM offers the smallest integrated transceiver for aviation, native deconfliction for all traffic sources, thus enabling cost-effective collision avoidance.
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