Why Counter Drone Technology is a Critical Piece of UTM: Fortem Technologies on Partners and Collaborators

Why Counter Drone Technology is a Critical Piece of UTM: Fortem Technologies on Partners and Collaborators

image courtesy Fortem Technologies

Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) is a critical step in full integration of drones into the airspace.  Until a robust framework that allows manned aircraft pilots and airports to feel confident that they know exactly what’s in the airspace, commercial drone applications will be limited – and safety will continue to be a concern.

UTM isn’t one thing – it’s a complex structure of regulations, technologies, and software.  Partnerships and collaborations are forming rapidly as the leading players work to provide a flexible framework that includes all of the necessary components. While UTM includes drone tracking and ID, airspace intelligence, and communications systems so that drones and air traffic control can stay connected, another important feature of UTM is counter drone technology.

This week is AUVSI’s Xponential show – and safety and security experts Fortem Technologies announced today a partnership with  Unifly, a leading UTM provider.  The two “will collaborate to develop a joint airspace safety and security solution for a drone-enabled society,” says a Fortem press release.  “This new end-to-end solution will allow UTM and U-space architectures to be used by public safety officers, military groups and other government agencies to secure airspace around critical infrastructure, airports, stadiums, public venues and more.”

This announcement follows on the heels of last month’s announcement that Fortem had partnered with AirMap, another leading airspace intelligence and UTM platform.   DRONELIFE had the opportunity to speak with Timothy Bean, Fortem Technologies’ CEO, to find out why counter drone technology – or rather, airspace security – solutions are so important to UTM.

Bean begins by giving me a crash course in Fortem’s drone security system.  “Two or three years ago if you wanted to stop a drone, you’d buy an antenna,” says Bean.  “The antenna could hear the drone signal, and if you didn’t want it there, you could just jam the signal… and then you’d go look for the guy with the joystick,” he laughs.

As drone technology has advanced, however, the threats have gotten more sophisticated.  “Drones are flying on iPads, not joysticks, now.  That antenna has nothing to listen to – the drones are flying around listening to GPS,” explains Bean.  “And the bigger threat is that drones are now flying on terrain maps – they aren’t even listening to GPS, they are designed for a GPS deprived envioronment.”

“That’s scary,” says Bean.  “The operator can be hundreds of miles away – there is no operator.”

That’s why radar has become important in drone detection – but not the traditional large equipment.  “Radar is usually big,” explains Bean.  “It weighs about 50 pounds, sometimes you need your own power station, and traditional radar has a narrow point of view.”

“The other problem is that radar can’t see through buildings,” he continues.  “Radar sees day and night, and through clouds: but it’s topology challenged, it can’t see through buildings and through hills.”

Fortem’s radar is a different thing.  “Our disruption is that we’ve built a small radar – one is the size of a pencil case, and one is the size of a laptop.  They see 120×120 – so we can put them on all sides of a building, or all over a city – and then we aggregate the data with our software to give you complete visibility, about a mile in the sky,” Bean says.

The Fortem platform offers other advantages.  “People don’t like radar because it is stochastic, and you get a lot of false positives.  That’s why traditional long range radar takes time to focus in on something.”

“Another big disruption that our technology offers is the NVIDIA chip that goes in the radar to get rid of all of the noise.”  NVIDIA is the leading maker of edge AI technology – they’ve miniaturized their computer to allow powerful processing on small devices, which is known as “edge” computing.  With edge computing on Fortem’s radars, they’re able to achieve more accurate results: 1 meter as opposed to 50 – 100 meters.  Software associates the tracks from all of the radars positioned around a protected area to get one single picture of everything in the airspace.

image courtesy Fortem Technologies

“With that 3D view, we can create these geofences,” says Bean.  “Customers can create rules about what they want to happen when a drone enters that area – to communicate with the operator, or with authorities, or to use the DroneHunter to take it down.”

By collaborating with UTM providers like Unifly, Fortem can differentiate between drones with a legitimate purpose in the airspace and those that don’t belong.  Bean gives an example: a customer protecting some piece of critical infrastructure might have 5 drones flying for inspection purposes, and using Unifly for airspace intelligence.  Identifying every drone in the airspace using radar, Fortem’s software can then eliminate those in the Unifly system from the list of potential threats.  They may choose to communicate with the provider rather than take measures towards mitigation.

The total solution is an elegant one – and one that takes into consideration the needs of organizations who want to protect their airspace, while also taking advantage of the benefits of commercial drones.

The following is taken from a Fortem press release. 

“Recent security breaches have caused the demand for digitized airspace above a venue or across a city to skyrocket, particularly for solutions that can detect drones with no RF emissions,” said Fortem Technologies CEO Timothy Bean, “Fortem SkyDome supports drone service providers like Unifly to pave the way for safe and secure drone operations in an urban environment.”

Unifly recently announced Unifly BLIP (Broadcast Location and Identity Platform), an e-Identification sensor that detects position, altitude, temperature, pressure, speed and direction, when placed directly on a drone. This information can be accessed in real-time by relevant authorities, such as police officers or government organizations, through secured applications. Fortem SkyDome is an AI data platform that uses distributed Fortem TrueView radar to digitize the airspace above and around infrastructure, venues, events and cities, for approved drones to fly safely and unapproved drones to be identified quickly. The new joint solution will combine and leverage the capabilities offered by these solutions.

“Safety and situational awareness are the two key elements that come into play for organizations working to develop and deploy new drone technology,” said Laurent Huenaerts, General Manager of Unifly. “Combining Unifly’s solutions with Fortem’s is a milestone that will allow us to serve the needs of more stakeholders and accelerate towards the safe drone-enabled airspace we envision.”

Fortem Technologies and Unifly were both chosen to participate in the UAS Integration Pilot Program, which sets out to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the airspace. Fortem is also running tests with various Departments of Transportation (DOT) at the state level, and Fortem SkyDome is being tested by the Utah Department of Transportation at Salt Lake City Airport, as well as with additional domestic and international airports. Unifly and Fortem have also both partnered with the State of Nevada UAS Test Site for the FAA UTM Pilot Program, a joint initiative from the FAA and NASA that seeks to manage the airspace for the safe deployment of drones in the US National Airspace System (NAS).

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
Email Miriam

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Europe’s First Hydrogen Drone Doubles Flying Times with AMS Cylinders

Europe’s First Hydrogen Drone Doubles Flying Times with AMS Cylinders

Specialist drone manufacturer, SKYCORP, has successfully doubled the maximum flight times of e-Drone Zero, Europe’s first hydrogen-powered drone, to two hours, by using a new, ultra-lightweight gas cylinder from AMS Composite Cylinders.

The e-Drone Zero is a powerful, long endurance quadcopter designed for the commercial market. It features a compact, custom military-grade frame, and is powered by a unique, air-cooled hydrogen fuel cell module developed by Intelligent Energy. The system is managed by one of the most advanced artificial intelligence operating systems around.
The extended range was achieved by swapping the original 1.5L cylinder, which weighed around 1kg, for AMS’s innovative new 3L carbon composite cylinder. This is one of the lightest cylinders of its kind in the world today – providing double the gas capacity of the previous e-Drone Zero cylinders, whilst increasing the system weight by just 600g.

Marek Alliksoo, CEO at SKYCORP, said:

“e-Drone Zero utilises the latest hydrogen fuel cell and AI systems to deliver a huge step change in drone performance – improvements that simply can’t be achieved using today’s lithium-ion battery technology.
“When it comes to powered flight, every gram matters, and we’re always looking for ways to streamline the design. Hydrogen fuel cell systems provide significant advantages in terms of power to weight ratios – and using AMS cylinders helps to compound these benefits. Switching to the new AMS cylinders has provided a huge increase in the hydrogen capacity
per kilo, enabling e-Drone Zero to fly significantly further and carry heavier loads.”

The AMS cylinder has increased the wt% H2 ratio by 17% (from 3.31 to 3.87), extending flight times of the e-Drone Zero production unit to 2 hours. This is double the 1-hour flight times achieved by the demo unit.

The e-Drone Zero can now fly 3 to 4 times longer than any Lithium-ion powered electric drones – opening up new possibilities and applications, including surveying, security, search and rescue, defence and mobile mapping.

Additional information about SKYCORP, and full technical specifications for the e-Drone Zero can be found at http://sky-corp.eu/.

AMS Composite Cylinders Ltd supplies state of the art, lightweight gas cylinders to clients across the UK and Europe. AMS Type 3 carbon composite cylinders offer high pressure (300 Bar), ultra-low weight, and optional NLL (Non-Limited Life) performance. They are produced to recognised global standards and accreditations, including ISO 11119-2, UN-TPED Pi, DOT (USA) and TC (Canada).

AMS cylinders are in widespread use across a wide range of healthcare, emergency, breathing air, aviation, speciality gas and hydrogen fuel cell applications. Additional information about AMS Composite Cylinders Ltd can be found at www.ams-composites.com.

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Gatwick Airport in Fresh Drone Drama as Three Flights are Diverted

Gatwick Airport in Fresh Drone Drama as Three Flights are Diverted

It has been reported that in the Telegraph “that one person tweeted that he was landing in Gatwick when the pilot “assessed that we were going to have a little delay because of a drone”.  The passenger added that they landed after 15 minutes.

image: Andy Potter, CC 2.0

Another person tweeted that his easyJet flight to Gatwick had been “redirected to Stansted due to a drone sighting as we came into land”.  He said that the plane was refuelling and returning back to Gatwick.

A Stansted spokesman said he did not anticipate any further diversions on Sunday.

A Gatwick spokesman said: “Gatwick investigated a report of an unconfirmed sighting of an object outside the airport’s 5KM exclusion zone today but – following a full assessment – the airport has remained fully operational throughout.”

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DroneShield Progresses Collaboration with Thales in Spain

DroneShield Progresses Collaboration with Thales in Spain

On 11 December 2018, DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”), announced it had entered into a Teaming Agreement with Thales Programas De Electronica Y Comunicaciones S.A.U. (“Thales Spain”) (a Spanish subsidiary of Thales S.A.), whereby Thales would utilise and promote DroneShield’s products in its defence and security contract bids in Spain involving counter-drone aspects.

Thales Spain has now made its first purchase of DroneShield detection and mitigation products, with the primary purchase of integrating them into its broader family of defence products to market in Spain and globally to its customers. The payment for the products has been received. Integration process includes Thales’s Squire radar (deployed with numerous militaries globally, including mostly recently the Royal Netherlands Army) and its Gecko Optronics System, paired with DroneShield’s specialist drone-detection systems.

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO commented, “We are excited about the continued progression of our partnership with Thales in Spain, and look forward completing the integration and marketing the combined solution to Thales Spain customers globally.”


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Easy Methods To Have A Very Good Image

Easy Methods To Have A Very Good Image

With the growing movement to online picture albums and social media websites, it is actually no wonder that many people have grown to be thinking about photography. Nevertheless, many of those everyone is not really positive about their abilities and expertise behind the digital camera. It’s your decision to make time to gather as much understanding as is possible, offering oneself the instruments you have to acquire amazing pictures over and over. Go through these tips to learn more about taking photos.

Don’t go overboard with complicated digital camera configurations. Grasp one feature, including shutter pace or aperture, one at a time. If you take a long time having to worry more than settings before you decide to capture the scenario could possibly have altered or the particular person went aside, the photo you wish to get may possibly no longer be there.

It is recommended to be on the lookout for photography enthusiasts who encourage you. In the event you take a look at their pictures, you will get much more suggestions at what to do.

Individuals often believe that brilliant, warm days are perfect for taking pictures. Nonetheless, you might be practically sure to get flawed images by taking your pictures in the immediate glare of your sunshine. Too much sun rays brings about pronounced glare and shadows, differences in saturation around the photo, and causes it to become difficult for man subject matter to have their eyes open. Provided you can, select instances early on in the morning or later on later in the day when taking pictures outside the house.

Get photographs of little information on a trip. As soon as you get back home you can expect to appreciate all of the images you might have remember and taken the journey in your thoughts. Take into account taking photos of things such as indications about the road, strange storefronts, tickets to some gallery or the food sold by neighborhood suppliers.

Attempt receiving closer to the topic that you will be looking to photograph. There is nothing as terrible as going for a take pictures of of a thing that will not be shut ample to discover nicely. Try out so it will be straightforward in your market in order to see images evidently and vividly.

Get confident with your designs before starting photographing them. Lots of people truly feel self-mindful or not comfortable becoming put in front of a digital camera. Make chat and ask them if you can get their photograph. Many people have to know that picture taking is art, as opposed to an intrusion of security.

If you are planning to capture pictures indoors with luminescent lights overhead, you should make a proper realignment to the camera’s white balance configurations. Various illumination must compensated for. You may have to modify for the to correct any unintended consequences if your phosphorescent lamps give off a azure strengthen.

Must you acquire pictures of some subject areas that have been rained with? You could make this result oneself with a mist container that you can mist within the at the mercy of give the look of “bad weather.”

Continue to keep these guidelines under consideration the very next time you select up your digital camera. Those things in the following paragraphs is only able to offer to assist you to in the event you implement your brand-new identified expertise.