As part of AAAE’s Innovation Interview series, Justin Towles, Vice President of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, sat down with AirMap CEO Ben Marcus to learn more about AirMap, how AirMap helps airports, and why right now is the right time for AirMap.
In telling the story of AirMap, Marcus described the tremendous opportunity for unmanned aircraft to add value to everyday life, noting that delivering said value requires answering critical questions about operating safely in the airspace.
“The first element in helping drones fly safely in airspace is situational awareness. We started with situational awareness for drone operators so that they could be better educated about where it’s safe to fly.”
The second step, Marcus outlined, is to provide situational awareness for other people who have an interest in what’s happening in the airspace, particularly airports. AirMap’s Digital Notice and Awareness System™, or D-NAS, allows airports to receive digital notice of unmanned aircraft operations in proximity to their airport.
“Until recently the only way to give notice was to knock on the door of the airport manager or give them a phone call,” said Marcus. “And clearly that’s not a scalable process. By giving digital notice, by allowing an unmanned aircraft operator to just click a button, we can provide real situational awareness to the airport.”
To this Towles asked, “Why now? Why is now the time for this, and what can we expect from AirMap moving forward?”
“We’re really at the inception of the commercial phase of the development of the drone ecosystem,” Marcus replied. “Later this year, we’re going to see part 107 released by the FAA. This is the final rule on visual line-of-sight small UAS commercial operations. We believe this new rule will unlock a huge number of sole proprietors, small businesses, entrepreneurs who have ideas about how to use drones in their businesses. We need to develop the systems and develop the infrastructure to support those operations in the airspace.”
Learn more about D-NAS here. Watch the full interview below: