Multispectral and LiDAR drones deployed to protect the Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch butterfly’s annual migration is one of the world’s most fascinating natural phenomena, and is one of the longest and largest in the insect world, spanning more than 4,000 km. 

The migration is a symbol of international cooperation among Canada, the United States, and Mexico, who work together to preserve the monarchs’ route from southern Canada’s Great Lakes Zone to central Mexico’s Michoacán and State of Mexico, passing through the central-western plains of the United States. 

However, this migration is at risk of extinction due to environmental changes, habitat destruction, and deforestation that jeopardize the monarch’s breeding grounds. 

For this reason, the Neovolvanic Axis Conservation Fund (FOCEN) an organization dedicated to preserve the habitats and forests where the monarchs hibernate, is searching for every means possible to protect and support this phenomenon. In a partnership with Cielito Drone and DJI Enterprise, they have turned to drones to collect vital forestry data in an effort to preserve these critical habitats.

About the Monarch’s migration and lifecycle: 

The life cycle of a monarch butterfly typically lasts for a month, but the “Methuselah generation,” which emerges in mid-August, is different. This generation delays its reproductive period and can live for up to 9 months, allowing it to travel south for two months, spend five months in Mexico, and then return north. These butterflies have never been to the location where they hibernate every year in Mexico but are guided by a unique radar within their species.

Vital ecosystem supporters

Throughout their lives, monarch butterflies play a crucial role within the ecosystem. As herbivores, they feed on milkweed plants during the initial stage of their life, and as important pollinators, they feed on flower nectar during their adult stage. During their migration, they promote the genetic diversity of flowering plants and contribute to human food security throughout North America by transporting pollen attached to their bodies. 

Milkweed plants are essential to monarch butterflies, as they serve as the site for laying their eggs during the breeding season. In total, each female lays up to 400 eggs, which hatch after eight days into caterpillars with distinctive black, white, and yellow stripes. The caterpillars consume milkweed leaves and undergo metamorphosis, emerging as adult butterflies after two weeks. 

The Oyamel fir and the Monarch’s endagered status

The monarch butterfly is currently categorized as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the largest source of information on the risk status of global biodiversity. This is due to a significant population decline of up to 72% in the last decade.

The monarch butterfly’s decline is attributed to two main causes: 

  1. Excessive use of pesticides and herbicides that kill both the butterflies and their milkweed habitat
  2. Illegal logging and deforestation of the forest areas in Mexico that serve as the monarch’s winter refuge

In addition to direct anthropogenic activities, climate change has caused a decrease in rainfall and an increase in temperature, weakening forest species and making them more susceptible to pests and diseases such as bark stripping insects. 

In particular, the Oyamel fir, the Monarch’s preferred tree for their winter hibernation, is under threat from a mysterious phenomenon that causes the tree to turn white, lose its foliage, and die. If these trees continue to disappear, and actions aren’t taken to protect this vital habitat, the monarch butterfly migration phenomenon may be lost forever. 

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico 

The Oyamel forests have been declared a Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and designated as a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The ejidos and communities, government authorities, and civil society are working together to protect the areas designated for the arrival of monarch butterflies. They have implemented permanent monitoring of the health status of the trees in the overwintering sites to ensure their preservation. 

Limitations of traditional conservation techniques

Conventional forest monitoring techniques have been used in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve since its creation. However, this involves ejidatarios and community members travelling long distances on foot, visually identifying changes in the trees. This method is inefficient and even dangerous in inhospitable terrain, and it is impossible to cover the entire area of interest in a single day. 

Direct observation is also limited by the high density of trees, the number of branches, the height, and human vision. Furthermore, since diseased trees begin to die from the top of the canopy down, it is difficult to determine the health status of these majestic trees by foot.

According to data from Fondo de Conservación del Eje Neovolcánico A.C., phytosanitary surveillance teams only make six trips a year for early detection of forest pests and diseases within the core zone of the Biosphere Reserve. This is not sufficient to protect the forest from threats.

To address these challenges, it is urgent to evolve forest monitoring methods by adopting drones. 

Conservation drones

When the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared the monarch butterfly phenomenon endangered, DJI Enterprise, together with Cielito Drone and authorities of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, deployed a research project to determine the causes and level of damage to the ecosystem that houses the monarch butterflies in Mexico.

Drones offer many advantages over conventional forest inventory methods. Thanks to technological advancements, drones are becoming increasingly accessible and easy to control, allowing people who are not experts to safely and accurately execute flight missions regardless of the complexity of their study sites. By incorporating drones into forest monitoring activities, it will be possible to cover a larger area, obtain higher-resolution images, and detect changes in tree health that are difficult to see with the naked eye.

The power of multispectral

With multispectral monitoring tools and sensor technology such as LiDAR and photogrammetric cameras, it is possible to efficiently, quickly, and safely analyze ecosystems.

Cielito Drone utilized DJI Enterprise equipment, specifically the Mavic 3 Multispectral and the Matrice 300 RTK with the LiDAR L1 sensor, to conduct flights within the core zone of the reserve.

The Mavic 3 Multispectral has 45 megapixel multispectral bands, including green, red, red edge, and near-infrared, which allowed the team to identify areas with signs of forest decline early by calculating spectral indices used in vegetation monitoring. This data was crucial in detecting devitalized trees, which required emergency sanitation actions. 

Terrain Follow for elevation changes

During the flights, the drones covered a range of altitudes between 2,800 to 3,500 meters above sea level, which correspond to the distribution of Oyamel trees. The DJI Mavic 3’s Terrain Follow feature enabled successful flights over the main basins where the monarch butterfly hibernates, maintaining a consistent height above the ground. This allowed for reliable and consistent data collection throughout the flight, despite the nearly 700-meter difference in altitude between the lowest and highest areas.

Precision aerial LiDAR

Additionally, the team used a Matrice 300 RTK equipped with a Zemuse L1 sensor (a LiDAR sensor) to obtain precise measurements of the height, crown diameter, and amount of biomass of trees at the sites where the monarch butterflies arrive. Despite the dense and complex forest environment within the reserve, the M300 and L1 provided a complete and user-friendly solution, capable of generating impressive three-dimensional models of the magnificent oyamel trees in real-time. These trees serve as the hibernation spot for the monarch butterfly every year.

UK CAA – Remote ID Integration Provider & Service Provider(s)

As part of the UK’s overall Remote ID technical architecture, the CAA are intending to contract for the development, implementation and maintenance of the RID Integration Provider, which is a new system for the CAA. The Remote ID Integration Provider (often known as the InterUSS Layer or component) will serve as a critical communication backbone for the overall Remote ID service, enabling the efficient gathering and exchange of data between multiple network RID service providers (Section B of this RFI) and the Master Data Hub. This essential element promotes seamless interoperability and collaboration within the drone ecosystem, ensuring that relevant information is securely transmitted and shared across various system components, enhancing overall connectivity and coordination. It will enable the efficient and secure exchange of information between components, allowing stakeholders to interact with the hybrid Remote ID system.

The Remote ID Integration Provider will develop, implement and maintain the Integration Layer for all the Remote ID service providers, ensuring the Remote ID Service Providers can communicate with one another and that all Remote ID data is coordinated centrally and then shared with the Master Data Hub.
Drones in flight will emit Remote ID data (time stamp, ID, location etc). This data will be emitted for every second that required Open Category and all Specific Category drones are in operation, and will be picked up by the Remote ID Service Providers. The Remote ID Integration Provider will establish the coordination Layer between the Service Providers, and the Master Data Hub which will store all RID data in real-time and create historical records.
The Remote ID Integration Provider would be expected to build, operate and maintain a service

Remote ID Service Provider(s):

Remote ID Service Providers enable the real-time identification and tracking of drones by ensuring that registered drones can be easily identified and that their operators are in compliance with the established regulations. The chosen decentralised architecture features multiple instances of network Remote ID service APIs, representing various network Remote ID service providers, which in turn bolsters scalability, reliability and service accessibility.

Remote ID Service Providers would be expected to build, operate and maintain a service which:

• Supports the input and management of UAS identification information, including aircraft registration
• Implements Remote ID Integration Provider APIs for seamless integration and data exchange with other Remote ID Service Providers
• Ensures data encryption during transmission to and from the Remote ID Integration Provider
• Is scalable to handle increasing numbers of UAS and Remote ID Service Providers

If you would like to potentially be involved, please contact [email protected] for a copy of the RFI.

More here

2023 AIAA AVIATION Forum Adds Prominent Speakers

Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) announced the addition of several prominent industry professionals and government officials to its 2023 AIAA AVIATION Forum, 12–16 June, San Diego. The five-day program will address the theme, “Revolutionary Leaps Toward a New Age of Aviation.”

On Tuesday, 13, June, 0800 hrs PT, Alan Weston, CEO, LTA Research and Exploration,will deliver the day’s keynote address, “Airships: A Sustainable Path to Decarbonizing Transportation and Complementing Humanitarian Aid.” Other new speakers added include:

·       Pat Anderson, CTO, VerdeGo

·       Natalya Bailey, Chief Operating Officer, Curated Innovation

·       Sean Black, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer & Chief Engineer, Spirit AeroSystems

·       Kevin Bowcutt, Senior Technical Fellow and Chief Scientist of Hypersonics, The Boeing Company

·       Mina Cappuccio, Deputy Manager for University Innovation Project, NASA Ames Research Center

·       Skye Carapetyan, Aircraft Sales & Business Development – Infrastructure, BETA Technologies

·       John Deruchie, Chief – Regional Engineering, Transport Canada

·       John Katsoudas, Founder & CEO, Influent Energy

·       John Morgenstern, Head of Aerodynamics and Boom, Exosonic

·       Carie Mullins, Director of Analytics, BryceTech

·       Tony Mumford, Principal Flight Sciences Engineer, Overair

·       Khin Paing, Vice President of Program Management, Skygrid

·       Lisa Peterson, Vice President, Business Development, AURA Network Systems

·       Dan Sloat, Founder & President, Advanced Air Mobility Institute

·       Jimmy Smith, Unmanned Systems Representative, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)

·       Jia Xu, CTO and Senior Director of Engineering, Unmanned Aerial Systems / Urban Air Mobility, Honeywell Aerospace

      Jason White, Manager Partner, Galaxy Unmanned Systems LLC

Registration for the 2023 AIAA AVIATION Forum is open. Journalists who wish to cover the forum can request a Press Pass here.

For the most up-to-date program and registration information, visit

Wingcopter and Siemens Healthineers partner up for lab sample deliveries in Africa

First integrated drone delivery solution for laboratory samples and medical supplies in Africa

  • Siemens Healthineers to collaborate with German drone manufacturer and service provider Wingcopter to pilot an integrated drone delivery solution for healthcare facilities throughout Africa
  • 2-way delivery system transporting blood samples, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals to improve access to sample analysis, accelerate diagnosis and allow faster treatment for rural communities

Dubai (UAE), Weiterstadt (GER), Siemens Healthineers Middle East, Southern & Eastern Africa and Wingcopter GmbH have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop and roll out an integrated drone delivery solution to transport various laboratory diagnostics materials as well as other medical supplies in Africa. The combination of Siemens Healthineers’ Laboratory Diagnostics testing capabilities and Wingcopter’s drone delivery services will provide improved diagnostics and faster treatment. The solution will adopt the latest in digital technology provided by Siemens Healthineers and Wingcopter from highly automated drone delivery to Laboratory Information Systems which will accurately track and report results directly to the patients. 

Ole Maloy, Managing Director of Siemens Healthineers Middle East, Southern & Eastern Africa, said, “At Siemens Healthineers, we are committed to providing access to care for everyone. Our partnership with Wingcopter will look to bridge the existing gaps in healthcare infrastructure, providing equitable and affordable access to diagnostic testing and medical supplies.” 

The utilization of Wingcopter’s delivery drones interconnected with Siemens Healthineers’ laboratory diagnostics facilities will allow for quick and automated 2-way delivery of samples, medicine and other medical products. The battery-powered drones will be operated by Wingcopter, covering a range of 75 kilometers while maintaining the cold chain at all times. These sustainable and efficient drone delivery networks will allow for the centralization of sample testing and medical consumables distribution, resulting in improved access to diagnosis, faster turnaround time, increased efficiency and reduction in costs. 

Tom Plümmer, CEO and Co-founder of Wingcopter GmbH comments, “We are convinced that we have found the perfect partner for our bold ambitions to improve and save the lives of millions of people on the African continent and beyond. Partnering with Siemens Healthineers will bring us a big step closer to the goal we are working tirelessly towards: to make a real social impact worldwide for those who need it most through fast, reliable and sustainable drone delivery networks in the sky.”

Roughly half of the world’s population still lack access to essential health services such as timely diagnostic services, according to a report from the World Bank and WHO. While accessibility for diagnostic testing will increase, the drone delivery solution will also have a positive impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, from access to health, to potential reductions in carbon footprint and the risk of road accidents, to capacity building on drone operations. Wingcopter intends to train and upskill local young people, creating jobs and perspectives in the fast-growing drone industry. In doing so, Wingcopter is following the company’s approach in Malawi, where operations are run by an all-local, majority-female crew. 

The exact time and place of the first deployment of drone-based lab sample deliveries will be announced in due time. 

Siemens Healthineers AG (listed in Frankfurt, Germany: SHL) pioneers breakthroughs in healthcare. For everyone. Everywhere. As a leading medical technology company headquartered in Erlangen, Germany, Siemens Healthineers and its regional companies are continuously developing their product and service portfolio, with AI-supported applications and digital offerings that play an increasingly important role in the next generation of medical technology. These new applications will enhance the company’s foundation in in-vitro diagnostics, image-guided therapy, in-vivo diagnostics, and innovative cancer care. Siemens Healthineers also provides a range of services and solutions to enhance healthcare providers’ ability to provide high-quality, efficient care. In fiscal 2022, which ended on September 30, 2022, Siemens Healthineers, which has approximately 69,500 employees worldwide, generated revenue of around €21.7 billion and adjusted EBIT of almost €3.7 billion. Further information is available at

Wingcopter is a German manufacturer of unmanned, all-electric delivery drones and provider of drone delivery services, specializing in enhancing medical supply chains and the logistics of urgently needed goods. The 150-strong team is dedicated to improving and saving lives worldwide through meaningful commercial and humanitarian applications. Wingcopter is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and Global Innovator.

Thanks to its patented tilt-rotor mechanism and proprietary software algorithms, the Wingcopter 198 can take off and land vertically like a multicopter, while flying long distances as efficiently and quickly as a fixed-wing aircraft, even in rain and wind. 

Wingcopter’s investors include the European Investment Bank, REWE Group, Salvia, XAI technologies, Xplorer Capital, Futury Capital, ITOCHU, DRONE FUND, SYNERJET, Expa, Hessen Kapital III, and Corecam Capital Partners. 

Dronanamics Black Swan first flight recap

Exactly a week ago, Dronamics made history when the full-scale Black Swan, our one-of-a-kind cargo drone, successfully completed its first flight. It’s taken nearly nine years from napkin design to proof of concept, paving the way for the future of cargo deliveries. This remarkable milestone marks the dawn of a new era in logistics.

Thank you to everyone who has supported and followed us throughout this remarkable journey.

How it started: A tale of two brothers, a block of cheese and a vision to do things differently 

It’s undeniable that aviation and brotherhood have something in common. 240 years ago the Montgolfier brothers pioneered hot air ballooning and 120 years ago the Wright brothers proved aviation can work. The story of Dronamics also starts with two brothers, with remarkable vision and drive. 

Konstantin and Svilen Rangelov, the sibling co-Founders of Dronamics, embarked on their groundbreaking journey almost by chance. Konstantin, who was studying aerospace engineering in the Netherlands, kept asking Svilen to bring him his favourite cheese from back home as shipping it by air was too expensive and by road, too slow. This sparked a conversation between the two brothers that would ultimately lead to their light bulb moment.

Svilen, with his entrepreneurial spirit and an economist’s perspective, challenged Konstantin to find a solution himself. How could goods, whether it be a piece of cheese, a crucial piece of equipment or medicines be swiftly transported across continents in the most optimal way?

Nowadays, Dronamics spans a multinational team of over 150 individuals from 12 different nationalities with backgrounds in aviation, aerospace, logistics, tech, and supply chains. Together, we have achieved another first in aviation, and most importantly, demonstrated what the future of deliveries could look like. 

Sentera’s Pitot Tube Awarded Patent

Sentera, the industry-leading provider of ag analytics, today announced that it has been awarded a patent for its innovative pitot tube assembly, which is used on its fixed-wing drone, the PHX.

Pitot tubes are common within the aviation industry, including unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs). The rigid design of many of these do not lend well to the role of UAVs, particularly within agriculture where missions take place in fields. Landings may take place in areas that damage traditional pitot tubes, due to their placement and rigidity.

“In designing our pitot tube, we focused on creating an assembly that brings a flexible design together with durability and usability,” said Matt Skelton, aerospace engineer, Sentera. “Our patented pitot tube technology was designed with our customer in mind – ensuring that the design doesn’t impede airspeed measurements while making it easy to calibrate, replace, and repair so not to constrain our pilots during their busiest times of the year.”

While it can be used for any UAV, Sentera’s pitot tube was designed for the PHX. As the leading fixed-wing drone on the market for agricultural mapping and imaging applications, the PHX can capture acreage three times faster than multirotor drones. In doing so, it empowers users to scout full fields with complete visibility across acreage. And, when paired with Sentera’s Double 4K, generate insights like Stand Count, Crop Health, and Tassel Count.

“We’re excited to continue to drive innovation ahead for the UAV agricultural market,” said Skelton. “Because of the unique challenges that pilots in our industry face, we are committed to continuing to extend the usability of the PHX to help our customers maximize every season.”

For more information about the pitot tube and the Sentera PHX, visit

About Sentera

Sentera helps agronomic leaders maximize every season as the industry-leading provider of ag analytics. With its data science ecosystem, powered by machine learning, Sentera delivers more reliable and scalable plant-level measurements to maximize performance outcomes, which can be informed by aerial imagery captured by Sentera’s drone technology solutions or services. Operating in more than 45 countries, Sentera works with hundreds of customers focused on research, product development, and in-field product validation. For more information, visit  

Get Ready To See ATLAS At The Paris Air Show 2023

At this year’s Paris Air Show, look for more information about ATLAS’ newest products and offerings from the 19th through to the 25th of June at its official booth, located at Hall 4 – F4.

At Europe’s premier trade show for the worldwide aviation industry, organized by the SIAE, visitors can see the major industry players from all over the world who design modern products around the latest technological innovations, and companies like ATLAS.

ATLAS is a next-generation aerospace company ready to offer visitors a unique solution for whatever their specific industry or activity is, which will be sure to help complete and simplify their various tasks and objectives. Ivan Tolchinsky, CEO of ATLAS, says:

“ATLAS has oriented itself towards the future, which helps to shape new perspectives of the UAV industry and bring them to Europe’s premier trade show.”

ATLAS develops and manufactures dual-use Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for professional use cases and has solved the biggest problem in the aerospace market today – high-end aerospace technology has now become affordable and cost-efficient for everyone who wants to be a part of the future, and be a force to be reckoned with in it.

The 54th International Paris Air Show will kick off on June 19th in Le Bourget. ATLAS invites you to look for our products at the show, which will run from the 19th to the 25th of June 2023.
Make sure to visit the ATLAS booth in Hall 4 – F4.

According to the official site of the Paris Air Show, the first four days of the show will be reserved for trade visitors, followed by three days open to the general public. This year’s show is expected to see more than 316,470 visitors.

Dufour Aerospace Quality Engineer

An exciting opportunity exists for an experienced and self-motivated Quality Engineer to become one of the founding members of the Dufour Aerospace Quality team. The position offers the opportunity to be involved with the development and launch of our leading technology hybrid tilt-wing aircraft. The successful candidate will be involved in all aspects of quality within the business and play a major role in establishing best practice quality and improvement processes to meet customer and regulatory requirements that will ultimately lead to product and business certification.

The Quality Engineer role will be required to work with internal and external stakeholders, notably Engineering, Production, Procurement, Suppliers and Certification bodies. An ability to operate at all levels and engage others successfully is therefore essential.

If you have the ambition to play a key part in the future of Dufour Aerospace and impact the future of aerospace this could be the role for you.


  • Provide quality support for all new product development and production activities.
  • Work with engineering and manufacturing/assembly teams to validate, mature and continually improve product and process quality.
  • Support the development and implementation of required processes and the ongoing maintenance of the Dufour Management System.
  • Complete Quality Management System/Supplier audits for purposes of assurance and approval.
  • Develop and implement quality standards, inspection/measurement systems and processes.
  • Manage Dufour, supplier and customer quality issues in conjunction with key stakeholders.
  • Support resolution of day-to-day quality problems, ensuring effective containment and problem resolution for all non-conformances.
  • Provide guidance and support across the Dufour team on all matters related to Quality & Improvement.
  • Driving continuous improvement to maximise business performance. Undertaking improvement projects, leading/coaching others in the use of improvement tools and delivery of improvement activities.



  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience in a Quality & Improvement role ideally within aerospace or other high technology industry.
  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant engineering subject.
  • Working knowledge and experience of operating in organisations managed under the requirements of ISO9001 or AS/EN9100.
  • Experience in performing management system and/or supplier quality audits.
  • Proven experience of dealing with complex problem solving, driving root cause and corrective/preventative actions to conclusion.
  • Thorough understanding of Quality Management and improvement methods e.g. 3C, 8D, SPC, FMEA, Error Proofing, 6 Sigma.
  • Good Technical Engineering knowledge, including ability to understand engineering drawings and standards.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to operate independently, having a high level of self-motivation, initiative, and determination to see a task through to completion.
  • Strength of character to remain resilient under pressure.
  • Confidence to represent the department and company in internal and external meetings.
  • Good language skills, fluency in both English and German.


  • Working knowledge and experience of operating in production organisations approved under the requirements EASA Part 21(G).
  • ISO Standard Certified Quality Auditor.
  • Lean Six Sigma qualified, Black or Green belt.
  • Member of a recognised professional body such as the Chartered Quality Institute.


  • The position will be primarily based in the Dübendorf facility, but travel to other Dufour sites and supplier locations will be required.
  • Compensation will be a combination of fixed salary plus share options.

Apply here

Honeywell Develops Advanced Air Mobility Industry’s First Reference Guide On Vehicle Certification

Honeywell (NASDAQ: HON) have launched the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry’s first certification reference guide across key vehicle segments. Complex regulations are being developed to enable the certification and operations of crewed and uncrewed AAM vehicles designed to transport people and cargo. Until now, there had been no place these regulations had been comprehensively tracked.

Business and government leaders, engineers, media and anyone else with an interest in the future of flight can use the Honeywell State of UAS and UAM Certification Guide to help navigate and communicate the complexities of vehicle certification and operational approval across multiple vehicle segments.

“We understand the challenges that professionals working in the Advanced Air Mobility industry face as they look to navigate, track and ultimately comply with myriad developing regulations,” said Jia Xu, chief technology officer, UAM and UAS, Honeywell Aerospace. “Because Honeywell provides certifiable, mission-critical systems that make AAM vehicles fly, it’s essential that we understand the certification landscape across all AAM segments. We initially developed this certification summary table as a quick reference for our own team; however, we quickly realized that the information here can benefit the wider industry. We intend to update this document regularly to help AAM companies keep pace with regulatory development.”

Industry professionals can access this living document at the following link. The certification reference guide will summarize evolving Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) rules across multiple AAM segments. It will also link to source documents that AAM professionals can reference to better understand detailed certification requirements.

“The Honeywell certification reference guide can help UAS and AAM manufacturers, operators – or really anyone with an interest in the industry – to quickly get up to speed on the current certification landscape across key advanced aviation segments,” said Emily Kimball, deputy director, Commercial Drone Alliance.

The information presented in the Honeywell State of UAS and UAM Certification Guide constitutes forward-looking statements regarding the subject matter. Any forward-looking statements represent our current judgment and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. The information is provided “as-is” and without warranty.  

About Honeywell

Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft. The Aerospace business unit builds aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity systems, mechanical components and more. Its hardware and software solutions create more fuel-efficient aircraft, more direct and on-time flights and safer skies and airports. For more information, visit or follow us at @Honeywell_Aero

Shearwater and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® are applying the power of AI to completely transform RPAS flight planning

Shearwater Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® today announced a strategic collaboration to reduce operator workload by automating route planning for any uncrewed aerial system using Skunk Works’ next-generation VCSi ground control station software, with Shearwater’s Smart Flight™ world-leading AI technology

The new technology will be showcased during the upcoming CANSEC show in Ottawa, Ontario, from May 31st to June 1st. The live walkthrough of the integrated product will highlight how it can be used to reduce operator workload and create more reliable routes that are considerably faster and require less energy than manually planned missions.

Shearwater’s Smart Flight™ software automatically coordinates uncrewed aerial systems and generates dynamic flight routes that avoid no-fly zones, obstacles and bad weather, while leveraging wind energy, an abundant source of free energy that until now has gone completely untapped. It is designed to function as a decision-support system for piloted operations, or as a decision-making system for fully autonomous operations.

“Our Skunk Works team in Calgary is proud to collaborate with Shearwater to incorporate their AI mission planning software into our Vehicle Control Station (VCS) ecosystem, which has provided over 2.5 million hours of operational use of uncrewed systems,” stated Michael Baker, Program Manager at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® in Canada. “Smart Flight™ has the unique ability to enable goal-based planning, whereby the system automatically generates the most efficient flight routes based on operator goals. This not only reduces operator workload, but it paves the way for operators to start commanding multiple uncrewed aerial systems at the same time.”

“We’re excited to be expanding our collaboration with Skunk Works and advancing our integration with VCSi, which is already the leading ground control software today. Adding Smart Flight’s AI technology will continue to position VCSi at the forefront of the market and provide customers with unmatched capabilities that cannot be found anywhere else,” said Chad Armstrong, CEO of Shearwater Aerospace.

About Shearwater Aerospace
Shearwater is pioneering innovative, autonomous technologies to continuously challenge the limits of flight and enable organizations to scale their drone operations. Shearwater’s AI-powered Smart Flight™ software can be used with any type of uncrewed aerial system and removes the need for each system to have a dedicated human pilot. It provides enhanced onboard decision-making, enables uncrewed aerial systems to collaborate, and reduces the exposure to human errors, resulting in a massive increase in the number, length and range of missions while reducing operating costs and ensuring high levels of safety and regulatory compliance.