During an expert interview with Konrad Cioch, Chief Business Development Officer of Aerobits, several insights about the remote ID solutions for drones were discussed and some of those are shared below.
Q. What are the key focus areas of Aerobits and on which remote ID solution your company is working on?
Ans: Aerobits is a technological company focusing on micro avionics, in particular, micro ADS-B system for the UAS market. At the moment, the main focus is to build one device that can incorporate all of currently available systems in the market, such as ADS-B, FLARM and LTE. The complete UAS/UTM/U-Space ecosystem cannot function with just one technology owing to the big differences present in the level of progression between countries, which may not allow a single solution for tracking drones. Therefore, UTM systems needs to be capable of identifying signals from various sources like ADS-B, FLARM, LTE and potentially other sources as well in the future, for example, iridium. UAV flying with such complete solution on board can be easily identified by police and other users. By sending its position and identification number, it can be recognized and tracked. These solutions can and should be enforced by local governments in cooperation with commercial companies such as Aerobits.
Q.FAA in the U.S. has stated that ADS-B can’t be used for remote drone identification due to spectrum saturation problems. So, what according to you will be an alternate solution to ADS-B?
Ans: ADS-B is not only a remote identification, it can also be used for sensing and avoiding applications for the simple fact that avoidance is required beyond the visual line of sight. I think LTE-based solutions should be used, because we can receive all the information regarding a particular drone, if it has a SIM card, which is assigned to a person. This straight away lets you know about the identity of the owner. You can also use LTE-based solutions to triangulate the position of the drone. If you have got a ground infrastructure network of receivers, then you can use a smart algorithm to make sure that the drone actually exists and is not a spoof. GSM-based 5G technology in conjunction with ADS-B is the future, at least for now.
There are other solutions such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi which, due to their nature, are not capable of working on long distances, at least with the current state of ground infrastructure. Wi-Fi could potentially be used for the basic V2V communication, not only drone2drone, but also drone2vehicle in the future smart cities. With the implementation of 5G networks and receivers really close to each other we may see ADS-B technology being the main carrier for S&A, with manned and unmanned aviation and LTE technology is a prime system in the precise positioning and e-identification. Unfortunately, this technology is still far from achieving global implementation and it may take several years before such systems can be thoroughly tested. We should utilize this opportunity and use what is currently available in the market to start safe integration of drones into the airspace to allow use of UAS.
Q. Drone numbers have been tremendously increasing over the years in Europe and other regions. So, how do you see the need for managing and tracking the drones in the national airspace?
Ans: As the usage of drones is increasing throughout the world, one technology such as ADS-B will not be sufficient. At present, several projects are underway with local governments in Switzerland, Germany, Poland and organizations are trying to collaborate with governments in New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S. as well.
Europe is well ahead with regard to the implementations of UTM and UAS in countries such as Switzerland, Poland and Germany who have already taken serious steps on integration and tracking of UAS and in each of those ventures, Aerobits has an important role to play. There are many more similar projects in the pipeline in the succeeding months. To summarize, Europe is moving forward in terms of UTM software solution such as Unifly, DroneRadar and PANSA UTM.
Q. Growth in the use cases of drones is one of the biggest drivers we see in the global remote drone identification system market. What are your views on this and what challenges are you currently facing in the market?
Ans: The major drivers for the drone industry are commercial users with special applications such as industrial, precise agriculture and inspections. Moreover, military market was and still is the biggest single industry utilizing drones. Therefore at the moment it generates the largest profits. Future applications that are predicted to grow rapidly are: search and rescue, package deliveries and blood/organ transportation. Such use cases will hopefully lead to governments attempting to speed up the process of legislation allowing the BVLOS flights.
Regulations are one of the biggest hurdles in the market. Currently, there are no clear guidelines nor certification for a products in the UAS market. There is a significant obligation on local governments, from both commercial and European organizations to move with the legislation, however, the pace at which things undergoing is slower than anticipated, owing to multiple factors. One of the factors behind is the sociological aspect and awareness. Currently, the market has great momentum to grow but if the regulations are not set soon, it may have a negative impact on the industry. It is a fortunate fact that Poland has already introduced BVLOS regulations. This allows companies to conduct missions that are not yet fully allowed in other countries.
The above-mentioned answers are the excerpts from the primary interview conducted during the development of market intelligence on Global Remote Drone Identification System Market report.