Last week, AirMap headed to Las Vegas for InterDrone, the largest commercial drone show and expo in North America, to celebrate the innovations happening in the drone ecosystem and to discuss the exciting opportunities ahead.
On Wednesday, AirMap co-founder Greg McNeal kicked things off on the keynote stage alongside Amazon’s Paul Misener and Intel’s Anil Nanduri.
Drones as more than just the next step in aviation, Greg posed. Millions of drones will fly billions of flights below 400ft in the very near future – and many of these drone flights will take place below 200ft, where obstacles are numerous and uncharted. From the positions of manned and unmanned aircraft to power lines and rooftops (not to mention people), this airspace looks completely different than the rest of the sky, and will require new ways of mapping and managing traffic. That means we can’t just translate the air traffic management techniques we use in traditional aviation to drones.
“We will never be able to see a drone economy functioning at scale until we start to change our thinking,” Greg said.
AirMap’s airspace management platform has proven that we can deliver real-time, hyperlocal information to drones, enabling communication between them and stakeholders like airports and other aircraft.
“Treating drones as connected devices that know and understand the world around them changes the safety equation and changes the policy discussion,” he explained. “The bottom line is that the information needed for safe operation can be operationalized through APIs. Technology holds the promise of solving problems for us.”
More policy isn’t the answer, Greg told the audience.
“The way forward for this industry is to think far less about what rules will make for a safe operating environment, and instead think about what technologies will make for a safe operating environment,” he said.
With outstanding innovations in technology already taking off, we have reason to be optimistic about the future of drones.
“We have only scratched the surface of what is possible,” Greg told the crowd. “The future holds enormous promise…Through the work of the experts gathered here today, and through the work of innovators who have not yet begun, we will see a revolution in aviation.”
AirMap also officially launched our Real-Time Traffic Alerts feature at InterDrone, and announced partnerships with PASSUR, the world’s leading airspace management platform for manned aircraft, and uAvionix, the creator of Ping, the world’s smallest and lightest ADS-B sensor.
“Safety is a key priority. Real-time traffic alerts are a powerful tool for Intel Aero platform and for the entire drone industry,” said Anil Nanduri, VP & GM of the UAV Segment within Intel’s New Technology Group. “This is another capability that will eventually get us to a world of smart, connected drones that can sense, think, and fly autonomously. This feature will come integrated in the Intel Aero Drone – a ready-to-fly platform built for drone developers.” Intel recently announced the integration of AirMap airspace services into the Aero Ready-to-Fly Drone platform.
PASSUR’s President & CEO James T. Barry shared his enthusiasm. “PASSUR and AirMap collectively bring the leading manned and unmanned commercial traffic management platforms together, creating a big win for all aviation constituencies,” he said.