Supernal and Inmarsat announced a partnership to define the application of satellite connectivity in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). Together, the companies will conduct testing and data sharing to optimise hardware and network systems, which will lead to the safe and efficient integration of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles into the airspace.
During vehicle testing, Supernal will connect its eVTOL to Inmarsat’s Velaris SATCOM service to assess capabilities such as aircraft state and telemetry monitoring. Velaris builds on Inmarsat’s vast three-decade experience in air traffic management communications and is powered by its high resilience ELERA global satellite communications network.
“Supernal is pleased to collaborate with Inmarsat to test the feasibility of integrating space-based and terrestrial data links to serve the Advanced Air Mobility industry,” said Ben Diachun, Chief Technology Officer, Supernal.
The partnership signifies the importance of highly reliable and secure satellite communications as part of the design and certification of eVTOL platforms.
“Inmarsat is excited to be working with Supernal to lead the conversation around connectivity and communications for UAV, eVTOL and UAM vehicles,” said Joel Klooster, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation. “We can deliver the safety services required to allow these vehicles to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations and continually improve the customer experience.”
Supernal, which is part of Hyundai Motor Group, will work with Inmarsat as part of its “open ecosystem” approach to addressing emerging technology needs of AAM.
Supernal (Su·per·nal) is a U.S.-based mobility service provider on a mission to redefine how people move, connect, and live. We are developing an Advanced Air Mobility eVTOL vehicle and working to responsibly co-create the supporting ecosystem and integrate it into existing transit options. As part of Hyundai Motor Group, we are both a new business and an established company, with plans to harness our automotive manufacturing heritage to make Advanced Air Mobility accessible to the masses. Visit www.supernal.aero for more information
Inmarsat delivers world leading, innovative, advanced and exceptionally reliable global, mobile communications across the world – in the air, at sea and on land - that are enabling a new generation of commercial, government and mission-critical services. Inmarsat is powering the digitalisation of the maritime industry, making operations more efficient and safer than ever before. It is driving a new era of inflight passenger services for aviation, while ensuring that aircraft can fly with maximum efficiency and safety. Furthermore, Inmarsat is enabling the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and enabling the next wave of world-changing technologies that will underpin the connected society and help build a sustainable future. And now Inmarsat is developing the first-of-its-kind, multi-dimensional communications network of the future, ORCHESTRA.
Inmarsat has welcomed Singapore-based Heron AirBridge, a specialist in Uncrewed Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) in the Asia Pacific region, as the latest company to join its Velaris Partner Network, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed today at Drones Asia.
Working alongside regional regulators, the two companies will enable the safe integration of uncrewed aircraft into Singapore’s commercial airspace by integrating Inmarsat Velaris, a highly reliable command and control (C2) datalink built for UAVs, with Heron’s AirBridge, a complete and flexible UTM system.
Inmarsat will also supply Heron with its low size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) Velaris satellite terminals for UAVs, delivering the secure datalink needed for Beyond Visible Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. The collaboration will mark the first deployment of Velaris technology in Asia Pacific and trials will commence later this year.
Joel Klooster, Senior Vice President, Aircraft Operations & Safety, Inmarsat Aviation, said “Uncrewed aviation is a sector poised for growth. The air vehicles and communications technology are ready, but unlocking their full potential hinges on consistent, global regulatory progress.
“Together with Heron, we are creating a blueprint for the integrated airspace of the future. Inmarsat’s Velaris technology, coupled with Heron’s regional domain expertise, will ensure operators of airspace and UAVs have the tools they need to drive regulatory acceptance in the region and beyond.”
Ryan Lee, CEO and Co-Founder, Heron AirBridge, added “Our partnership with Inmarsat is a major step towards increasing UAV integration into Singapore’s crowded airspace and updating regulation so that our efforts can be replicated worldwide. Working together, we look to establish Singapore as a world leader in this burgeoning sector, sharing our vision of creating value through the utilisation of low-level airspace globally. Inmarsat was the sure partner in powering the movement, with Velaris ensuring that we’re equipped with the core network and datalink capabilities we need to drive UAV integration.”
Inmarsat has announced a collaboration with Reliable Robotics, a leader in safety-enhancing aircraft automation systems, to support the safe, secure and efficient integration of remotely piloted aircraft systems into the US National Airspace System and airspace worldwide.
Inmarsat’s Velaris satellite communications service provides connectivity between remote pilots and aircraft for airspace access, including voice and digital communication links with air traffic control. By using existing certified airframes and commercial satellite networks, this new operating model can be brought to market quickly, without costly infrastructure, to expand the operational range for Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS).
Automation and remotely piloted aircraft could be key to supporting the future growth of freight volumes and alleviating the pressure on stretched supply chains, particularly for time-sensitive deliveries. Reliable Robotics is driving the industry forward with the automation of cargo aircraft to increase safety, improve efficiency and open up more routes to regional airports. However, automated aircraft technologies must be highly reliable and achieve required global certifications and regulatory safety approvals to gain access to airspace.
Joel Klooster, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation, said “Secure and consistent transmission of digital commands, telemetry and voice data is critical to remote aircraft operation, where availability and integrity of the link are essential to the overall performance. We’re proud to play a crucial role in bringing this world-first satcom solution to market with Reliable Robotics.”
Velaris, powered by Inmarsat’s ultra-high reliability ELERA network, will provide a secure command and control (C2) link to seamlessly connect Reliable’s remote pilots to its aircraft fleet with comprehensive coverage for communications. A connection is established using a small onboard satellite terminal and information flows through a private network, allowing the system to scale with demand. The equipment is designed to meet the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s recognised means of compliance and technical standards for airborne avionics.
Myles Goeller, Chief Business Officer at Reliable Robotics, said “We greatly appreciate the time and resources Inmarsat has devoted to tailor a global satellite communications solution to our technical, certification and commercial needs. It is exciting to work with Inmarsat to deploy a robust satcom system that will support the scaling of remotely operated aircraft and allow us to fly almost anywhere.”
Reliable Robotics is developing a certifiable system that enables continuous autopilot engagement through all phases of flight, including taxi, takeoff and landing with a remote pilot supervising operations. A satellite-based C2 link between the remote pilot and the aircraft is an integral component. Higher precision navigation, sophisticated flight planning capabilities and more robust flight controls better manage aircraft and environmental conditions and improve safety, reducing the occurrence of common causes of aviation accidents.
Inmarsat Velaris Network Welcomes Dimetor and Bellwether
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
At this week’s Xponential 2022 show, global connectivity player Inmarsat announced the addition of software company Dimetor and UAM solutions provider Bellwether Industries to the growing Partner Network for its Velaris UAV connectivity solution. The network was established last year with the goal of incentivizing collaborations using the Velaris connectivity solution, which enables commercial UAVs to carry out long distance flights and utilize a range of applications. The solution also allows a single pilot to remotely operate multiple UAVs at a time. Dimetor and Bellwether Industries join existing network members Altitude Angel and Harvest Technology Group.
“We’re delighted to welcome Dimetor and Bellwether as members of our Velaris Partner Network, especially at this incredibly buoyant time in the BVLOS and urban air mobility spaces,” said Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat’s Senior Director of UAVs and Uncrewed Traffic Management. “Such innovative collaborations, powered by the unparalleled capabilities of Inmarsat’s ELERA L-band satellite network, are fantastic news for uncrewed aviation and will directly benefit customers across this growing industry.”
Dimetor’s AirborneRF solution connects live radio network data from terrestrial Mobile Network Operators (MNO) with UAV airspace control systems. The addition of Inmarsat’s Velaris will enable UAV operators to access integrated terrestrial and space-based datalink communications for data routing, granting reliable control of UAVs within a three-dimensional airspace safety corridor. Dimetor will incorporate satellite communications into its data visualization in order to determine optimal routes. Essential to this solution will be a combined L-band satcom and LTE hybrid terminal designed by Inmarsat. The terminal will create integrated terrestrial and satellite communications, providing operators with an affordable solution.
“Our partnership with Inmarsat is a key milestone in progressing BVLOS solutions for UAV operators,” said Dimetor CTO and Co-Founder Thomas Wana. “Together, we are working to expand and bring AirborneRF to the market, combining our capabilities and expertise to create a platform that caters to the evolving wants and needs of customers. We’re excited to see what we can achieve as part of the Velaris Partner Network, and look forward to close collaboration with the Inmarsat team for years to come.”
“Partnering with Dimetor is a crucial next step in the development of accessible Beyond Visual Line of Sight UAV solutions, particularly those that come at an attainable price point without compromising on reach and quality of coverage,” added Spouncer. “The combination of 4G and 5G with Inmarsat’s highly reliable, always-on ELERA network, visualised by AirborneRF, will be the best way to plan efficient Line of Sight (LOS) and BVLOS operations. This will be a game changer for the industry, offering world-first technologies within an affordable and efficient solution for UAV operators.”
Bellwether’s Volar Urban Air Mobility aircraft is designed to fly a user between any points in a city. Together, Inmarsat and Bellwether Industries will examine the improvements satellite communications can provide for intra-city transportation. Inmarsat’s Velaris, combined with the company’s previous aviation safety systems experience, will allow Bellwether’s Volar to safely integrate with commercial airspace, as well as share data with Uncrewed Traffic Management. Bellwether will also benefit from the regulatory and air traffic management expertise of Inmarsat and other Velaris partners.
“Inmarsat’s contribution is extremely important to the future development of Bellwether’s Onboard Vehicle Management System and airspace integration,” said Bellwether Co-Founder and COO Kai-Tse Lin. “It’s crucial that the operation of our Volar urban aircraft is a simplified and user-friendly experience, making commuting in a Volar easier than driving your car.”
“Our partnership with Bellwether will be critical in the development of safe and efficient intra-city transportation services with passenger experience as their driving force,” said Spouncer. “In collaboration with an urban air mobility platform manufacturer, Velaris will play a key role in making safety and efficiency industry-standard features for the intra-city transportation sector. Together we’re defining a new category of transportation that is passenger orientated by design, prioritising safety and regulation.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies. For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has announced a new partnership network for its ground-breakingVelarisconnectivity solution and confirmed the first member is set to be Altitude Angel, the world’s leading Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) technology provider.
As part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this week, the two companies will explore opportunities to further integrate Inmarsat’s recently-launched Velaris connectivity solution for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with Altitude Angel’s market-leading UTM technology. Together, they will offer secure communications for commercial UAVs – commonly known as drones – to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) on long distance flights and access applications, including real-time monitoring, to ensure safe integration with aircraft in commercial airspace.
The new agreement will strengthen the existing partnership between Inmarsat and Altitude Angel, which has initially focused on the development of a Pop-Up UTM platform that delivers advanced flight tracking and management capability for UAVs. The solution has already been successfully demonstrated on a number of flights, offering full situational awareness to the operator team and preventing any potential conflicts with commercial aircraft. In addition, the Pop-Up UTM was crowned winner ofAir Traffic Management Magazine’s UTM Service Supplier Awardearlier this year and has been shortlisted in the prestigious Maverick Awards innovation category at World ATM Congress 2021, taking place this week.
Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat’s Senior Director of UAVs and UTM, said: “Inmarsat’s Velaris Partner Network (VPN) allows us to develop an unparalleled array of end-to-end UAV solutions and capabilities, working alongside a world-class ecosystem of leading players from across the industry. We are delighted that Altitude Angel has been announced as the first member and look forward to expanding the network further, with the additional of both new and well-established companies expected in the near future.”
Phil Binks, Altitude Angel’s Head of UTM, said: “Our Pop-Up UTM platform has received an outstanding response from the UAV industry, showing the immense potential for unmanned traffic management to enable safe, highly-automated UAV flights in both urban and rural environments. As the inaugural member of Inmarsat’s Velaris Partner Network, we will build on this momentum together by developing cutting-edge new innovations for this fast growing market that combine our unique individual strengths.”
The announcement comes a day after Inmarsat and Cranfield University published a new report, titled ‘UAVs: Unlocking positive transformation in the world’, which examines the wealth of new possibilities and applications unlocked by commercial UAVs. A key finding was the potential of UAVs to almost half the CO2emissions of urban freight transport compared to small light commercial vehicles (LCVs), providing an unprecedented opportunity to reduce the logistics industry’s environmental impact.
The report, which analyses both new and existing research, also identifies the many other commercial advantages provided by UAVs to organisations that embrace the technology and adopt new operational methods, with cost and time savings leading to enhanced supply chain and business efficiencies. In addition, it explores the considerable benefits that extend beyond those driven by commercial gain, such as delivering humanitarian and medical aid to remote communities and conflict zones, surveillance to protect endangered animals from poachers, and monitoring for illegal deforestation or mining operations.
Velaris is powered by Inmarsat’sELERAglobal satellite network, which delivers the world’s most reliable and flexible global connectivity, with full global redundancy and unique resilience in all conditions. ELERA capabilities will be enhanced further with the upcoming addition of Inmarsat-6 satellites, the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, the first of which (I-6F1) is scheduled to launch before the end of the year. The L-band capacity on each I-6 satellite will be substantially greater than Inmarsat’s 4th generation spacecraft and, among other enhancements, delivers 50% more capacity per beam in addition to unlimited beam routing flexibility.