June 14, 2021 – Bigfork, Montana – uAvionix is proud to announce it has conducted a milestone technology demonstration flight at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NP UAS TS) in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The 40-mile demonstration flight, witnessed by the NP UAS TS leadership team, combined the Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) flight control capabilities of the new uAvionix George autopilot with the latest iteration of SkyLine, uAvionix’s purpose-built managed C2 infrastructure using three terrestrial skyStation Ground Radio Systems (GRS).
The demonstration flight featured the custom uAvionix internal test eVTOL platform autonomously flown by the George autopilot, recently announced in April 2021. George is a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) compliant autopilot leveraging the world-class Cube core from CubePilot – perfectly combining the innovation of open-source autopilot excellence with Design Assurance Level (DAL) C hardware and safety and sensor monitoring for customers seeking Type Certification (TC) and safety case evidence for high-risk operations such as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).
In addition to hardening open-source hardware, George sets out to simplify the integration and compatibility complexities that come with enterprise autopilots and flight avionics. With the entire uAvionix product lineup at George’s disposal, including Low-SWaP Certified Transponders, purpose-built C2 Radios, ADS-B Detect and Avoid solutions, the soon-to-be certified truFYX GPS, and not to mention support for hundreds of third-party components. George is a platform developer’s dream come true to quickly and confidently assemble a seamless UAS architecture that is ready for business or even the battlefield.
In response to the enthusiastic response George has received, uAvionix is excited to announce a beta test program for developers to participate in early integration and testing opportunities. To learn more about the beta program, please email email@example.com.
Our most recent North Dakota flight demonstration differed from previous flights. This was the first public demonstration of three SkyStation terrestrial ground radio locations managed by SkyLine, uAvionix’s purpose-built command and control network for UAS, which powered the fully autonomous 40-mile Beyond Radio Line of Sight flight.
Each ground radio was monitored and coordinated through the uAvionix cloud-based SkyLine managed C2 service. SkyLine monitors the connectivity, signal strength, and quality from microLink, our redundant Airborne Radio System onboard the eVTOL, to manage make-before-break seamless transitions between ground radio locations. Engineers onsite, along with dozens around the world, watched as the SkyLine system determined which of the three ground stations provided the most robust connection completely autonomously and independent of the pilot in command.
uAvionix sees SkyLine as a key component to the future of BVLOS flight for UAS. SkyLine doesn’t rely on consumer-grade networks but rather is its own purpose-built airborne network, partitioned to provide not just quality of service, but integrity of service. With a dense ground network of skyStations and SkyLine managing the network integrity and aircraft, the possibilities are limitless for safe, trusted, large-scale fleet management, including package delivery, inspections, Urban Air Mobility, and more.
The SkyLine system is currently being deployed as a component of the Vantis State-Wide North Dakota BVLOS network, the New Mexico UAS Test Site, and the AirMarket led Energy UTM trials in Canada.
Aviation Grade Radios
The demonstration flight leveraged the uAvionix microLink Airborne Radio Systems (ARS) and skyStation Ground Radio Systems (GRS) developed to ASTM standards. microLink and skyStation are 2X2 MIMO digital frequency hopping radios, purposely designed for UAS with an architecture supported by RTCA DO-362 and ASTM F3002-14a – providing low-latency deterministic connectivity between the ARS and multiple GRS. uAvionix CEO Paul Beard and inventor of the Spektrum Radio which has become the digital spread spectrum standard for the RC industry elaborates: “Many in the industry are trying to shoehorn radio networking standards which were designed for bulk data transmissions – not for deterministic flight critical applications. In the end, this results in lower performance and uncertainty. We set out to design a purpose-built radio, network, and architecture that blends modern digital radio technology with aviation standards to get the most performance out of a robust system in order to close on the safety case.” uAvionix recently published an article illustrating the importance of radio selection titled “A Radio isn’t a Radio“, available on the company’s website.
About uAvionix Corporation
uAvionix was founded in 2015 with the mission of bringing safety solutions to the unmanned aviation industry in order to aid in the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS). A fundamental principle of that mission is to provide solutions that allow all airspace users a common situational awareness of the airspace. Through the evolution of our company, we pioneered and now offer low SWaP TSO certified and uncertified ADS-B and GPS solutions for General Aviation (GA), Airport Surface Vehicles and the UAS markets. Based in Bigfork, MT and Leesburg, VA, uAvionix consists of an unparalleled engineering and management team with a unique combination of experience within avionics, surveillance, airport services, UAS aircraft development, radio frequency (RF), and semiconductor industries. The entire leadership team consists of pilots of fixed wing, rotary wing, and UAS aircraft. uAvionix is backed by investors at Playground Global and Airbus Ventures.
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