A British company has announced plans to launch Altitude Angel, which will function as ‘The Internet of Flying Things’. The online database will continually update for drone operators to ensure that they do not fly their aircraft in restricted or dangerous areas.

Altitude Angel’s Neil Kidd says the theory behind the database is that before anyone launches a drone, they can check in to find out if there are hazards in the areas they intend to fly, and similarly send back information to help others.

He says the different types of hazards could be an airport no-fly zone, a flock of birds, or a crane operating temporarily in a usually safe flying area.

Kidd says he expects drone operators to also use the database to plot routes. He says drone operators will need to provide their craft’s capabilities to the database as “We need to know if it’s a quadcopter or fixed wing as we can’t issue a ‘hover’ instruction to something fixed.”

“Our customers send us their UAS telemetry data in real-time, and if we detect a scenario that needs corrective action to avoid a collision, we’ll send targeted waypoint or turn rate instructions directly to the UAS. Our high-end cloud platform accurately performs collision avoidance and conflict resolution – including predictive analysis – before sending the most appropriate instructions to all UAS involved in a conflict situation.”

Kidd says the system, which can add and receive data, is able to recognize manned aircraft as well, so that drone operators can avoid the downwash of large helicopters. Altitude Angel culls information such as Notice to Airmen (NoTAM) alerts, which warn pilots of hazards in their area or on their route.

Kidd say at present, Altitude Angel is in a “chicken-and-egg position” in that it is not able to launch officially until it has a lot of data, and the on-going data collection process being slow until it launches. Until then, his company is using a beta test scheme for people who are prepared to use it so that his company can collect data.

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