Airware, a San Francisco-based startup launched its operating system that would make the operations and flights of commercial drones easier and safer.
Airware CEO Jonathan Downey said the company’s drone operating system allows companies to deploy and manage their fleet of drones in a simple ways. He compared that drone operating system to the Windows operating system that powers computers.
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During a press briefing, Downey said, “For drones to be used in a growing number of applications across a number of industries; there needs to be a platform.”
Airware aimed to support all types of drones
He noted, “Almost everything else on the market to date has been designed assuming the user is a pilot or engineer.” According to him, Airware’s drone operating software is designed for companies to deploy a fleet of drones, and “to be used by utility workers, construction workers, and people in every industry who are interested to add drones to their existing toolkit.”
He added that Airware aimed to support all types of drones for various applications. Downey envisions every drone powered by Airware operating system to be configured, deployed, and run in the manner as any other unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)—even if it was built by a different company for another purpose.
To achieve its objective, Airware spent four years in developing its Aerial Information Platform, a system composed of hardware and software that standardize drone experience for companies.
The Airware operating system has a flight core, a hardware autopilot box that can be attached to a drone. The flight core communicates with drone operators on the ground running Airware software solutions.
The Ground Control Station program allows drone operators to develop the flight pan, set geo-fences, and contingency measures for the drone. They can do change anything related to the in-flight mission of the drone.
FAA commercial drone testing approvals
Last February, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its proposed rules for commercial drones that prohibit automated flights. The agency requires operators to keep the UAS within sight all the time.
Last month, Amazon.com received the agency’s approval to test drones for delivery. During a recent congressional hearing, the e-commerce giant slammed the FAA’s approval to test drones as too late and more restrictive compared with the permit issued by the United Kingdom and other countries. The company also wants to program its drone to make the flight.
The FAA became faster in granting approvals for commercial drone testing. As of April 9, the agency already granted 137 exemptions to the general provisions against commercial drones for specific uses such as making movies, utility inspections, and others.
Insurance giant, American International Group recently obtained a FAA approval to operate drones to conduct risk assessment, risk management, loss control and surety performance for clients in the United States.
Brian Wynne, CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International said there is a demand for drones in various industries including utilities and agriculture based on the FAA applications. He added that the UAV industry is developing technology and working with the FAA to allow more complex drone operations such as flying beyond the sight of the pilot or at night.
“What we’re doing with the exemptions is whetting the appetite. The industry is going to come forward with technology solutions that are going to make the entire airspace system safer,” said Wynne.