Reliable Robotics, Inmarsat Collaborate on Commercial Satellite Comms System for UAS

A coverage map of Inmarsat’s ELERA satellite network. Image courtesy of Inmarsat.

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 U.S. 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 unmanned aircraft systems.

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 automating 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.

“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,” said Joel Klooster, senior vice president of Aircraft Operations and Safety at Inmarsat Aviation. “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 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’s recognized 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,” said Myles Goeller, chief business officer at Reliable Robotics. “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.

Kollmorgen Partners with Ericsson on 5G Mobile Robot Capabilities
Inmarsat and Harvest Technology Group Launch High-Definition Livestreaming Solution for Commercial UAVS

Harvest joins Inmarsat’s Velaris Partner Network, providing highly reliable, ultra-low bandwidth C2 data and HD livestream capabilities for unmanned aerial vehicles

Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, today expanded the partner network for its ground-breaking Velaris connectivity solution with the addition of Harvest Technology Group (Harvest), an Australia-based specialist in ultra-low bandwidth livestreaming technology.

The combination of Inmarsat’s Velaris connectivity solution and Harvest’s Network Optimised Livestreaming technology will allow commercial operators of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to securely stream high-definition (HD) video, images, voice and data in real-time to decision makers across the world, while utilizing just a fraction of existing bandwidth resources.

The ability to stream aerial footage and important sensory data allows UAV operations to be managed remotely, with an 80% reduction in data usage on existing networks. In addition to enhancing critical decision-making, this will also limit the risk of placing personnel in dangerous or costly environments, both in industry settings and in supporting emergency rescue, disaster relief and crisis response efforts.

With Harvest’s solution, the entire remote inspection or response team, clients and any necessary third-party can securely join live UAV operations. Whether in a control room back at base, in their offices watching on their laptops or even working from home, the team can see developments happening in real-time to offer resolutions, operational direction and control like never before. Harvest’s UAV inspection solution enables safe and efficient beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations over Inmarsat’s Velaris satellite connectivity that set new standards for the industry.

Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat’s senior director of UAVs & Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), said: “Inmarsat’s Velaris Partner Network is focused on unlocking ground-breaking innovation and capabilities for the commercial UAV market. We are delighted to welcome Harvest Technology Group as the latest member. Its rugged and reliable HD livestream video and command and control (C2) data technology with advanced security and encryption, will play a key role as part of our vision for a world-class UAV ecosystem. This is a major step forward in the program and reinforces Inmarsat’s position as a catalyst in this fast-growing industry.”

Paul Guilfoyle, Harvest Technology Group’s Group CEO, said: “We are excited about bringing together the unique individual strengths of Harvest Technology Group and Inmarsat to benefit customers in the commercial UAV market. As part of the Velaris Partner Network, we will deliver an innovative, world-class solution that combines our top-tier security, encryption and data transfer with the seamless global connectivity offered by Inmarsat’s Velaris. And together, we will also continue to develop additional game-changing capabilities to support the rapid growth expected in this industry over the coming years.”

Inmarsat’s Velaris Partner Network was launched in October 2021, with leading UTM technology provider Altitude Angel as the inaugural member, followed now by Harvest. Harvest also recently joined Inmarsat’s Application and Solution Provider (ASP) Programme, an ecosystem for providers of software and hardware solutions and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in commercial land markets.

Velaris is powered by Inmarsat’s ELERA global 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-6 F1) was launched successfully in December 2021. 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. This builds on the launch of new possibilities through ELERA in L-band that, together with Global Xpress and forthcoming low earth orbit and terrestrial networks, comprise Inmarsat’s multi-dimensional network ORCHESTRA.