Smart Drone Flight Planning with SkyGrid Flight Control

Smart Drone Flight Planning

At SkyGrid, we set out to simplify the flight planning process with more automation and efficiency.  

Our free SkyGrid Flight Control app provides a complete solution to automatically generate area sweeps and waypoint missions based on flight parameters, such as desired speed, altitude, and location. Drone operators can also generate flight plans to meet multiple mission objectives, such as area exploration missions over two or more defined areas. The burden typically falls on drone operators to manually plan and execute their flights, but it’s often a laborious, time-consuming process. Our mission planner eliminates the manual workflows by automating drone flight planning and autonomously executing the mission. 

Check out the quick overview from our team and read on for more details:  

The types of missions drone operators can plan 

SkyGrid Flight Control automatically generates mission plans based on the drone operator’s flight parameters, such as start and end time, desired speed, altitude, and location. In the SkyGrid Flight Control app, the following types of mission objectives are available for the operator to choose from. 

Path Missions 

Our path missions enable drone pilots to generate routes that follow a series of sequential, operator-defined waypoints that the drone will autonomously execute. The path missions could be useful for a wide variety of missions across inspections, public safety, security, and more. For example, operators can generate a path mission to surveil a perimeter around a high-security building, monitor swimmers along a beach shoreline, or inspect thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines.  

During drone flight planning, operators can choose to have the drone auto-land at the end of the path or return home after the mission is complete.  

Drone Flight Planning - Path Objective

Free Flight Missions 

Our app also offers free flight capabilities, enabling operators to create flight boundaries where they can freely operate their drone. Free Flight missions are defined areas in which an operator can manually fly or choose to request LAANC only. This could be beneficial for commercial operators, especially when the area is less defined. For example, emergency responders using drones for fire protection, response, and reconnaissance, can set up a free flight mission around a designated area to detect people, vehicles, or animals in distress with our AI computer vision. The free flight capabilities allow them to concentrate on the most damaged areas within the response area in real-time. Free flight missions can also benefit recreational drone pilots, as it allows pilots to get LAANC in controlled airspace without requiring a flight plan.

Drone Flight Planning - Free Flight Objective

Area Exploration Missions 

Our area exploration missions are a series of parallel sweeps, or route paths, within a defined area that the drone will autonomously execute. This capability enables drone operators to automatically generate sweep missions to surveil a defined area. Based on their objectives, operators can specify the altitude they want to fly, the mission speed, and the distance between sweeps. For example, in search and rescue (SAR) situations, gathering rapid situational awareness is crucial; drone operators conducting a search and rescue mission may opt for 40-foot sweeps to ensure no area is left unchecked, while an operator surveilling a construction site may select 110-foot sweeps to get a high-level view of construction progress. 

Drone Flight Planning - Area Exploration Objective

Multi-Objective Missions 

Lastly, drone operators can create more complex mission plans with multiple objectives. For example, in the event of a traffic incident, law enforcement agencies could generate a path mission to the incident and combine it with an area exploration mission to gather situational awareness before emergency teams arrive. 

Drone Flight Planning - Multiple Objectives

Why use SkyGrid for drone flight planning? 

With flight operations, we simplify the dynamic airspace by enabling drone operators to automatically plan and execute optimal flight paths with AI-based route planning and deconfliction from other aircraft and obstacles. 

Based on your mission objectives, SkyGrid Flight Control will automatically generate a flight plan and autonomously execute the mission. Once a flight plan has been saved, operators can repeat the mission as often as needed. This simplifies routine inspections and surveillance missions that are conducted on a regular basis. 

 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the Apple App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features. 

Simplify Flight Authorization and Compliance with LAANC

LAANC Authorization

As more drones take flight, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) has become an increasingly important tool to automate drone flight authorization in U.S. controlled airspace under 400 feet. Under Part 107, drone pilots planning to fly in controlled airspace near U.S. airports must get FAA permission via LAANC, giving drone pilots near-real-time authorization to access controlled airspace at or below 400 feet while providing air traffic controllers visibility into when and where drones are operating.
 

What does it mean to be an FAA-approved provider of LAANC? 

The FAA shares airspace data with UAS Service Suppliers like SkyGrid through the UAS Data Exchange to help drone operators stay compliant with regulations. This data includes airport facility maps, airspace classifications, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), and notices to airmen (NOTAMs). With LAANC, the FAA allows commercial (Part 107 Auto-Approval and Part 107 Further Coordination) and recreational (Section 44809) pilots to gain near real-time access to U.S. controlled airspace via SkyGrid, an FAA-approved UAS Service Supplier, in just seconds. 

At SkyGrid, we’re fueling our system with these data sources to help drone operators minimize risks and generate the optimal route every time. Our goal is to safely integrate all unmanned aircraft in the global airspace, which requires the most up-to-date information from trusted sources. 

Check out a quick overview of our LAANC services and read on for more details: 

 

Features and Benefits 

Our free SkyGrid Flight Control app simplifies the flight approval process by integrating LAANC directly into the flight planning workflow. That means drone operators can seamlessly plan their mission, ensure their flight meets all LAANC criteria, and get auto-approval to fly. Now let’s take a look at what our LAANC services enable drone operators to do: 

  • Receive real-time LAANC authorizations for Part 107 commercial and recreational drone operations under 400 feet in U.S. controlled airspace. 
  • Request further coordination to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UAS Facility Map, up to 400 feet. These requests can be submitted up to 90 days in advance, and the approval is coordinated manually through the FAA. 
  • Access UAS Facility Maps that show pre-approved ceilings in controlled airspace and specify if further coordination is available. See the example of the airspace ceilings below: 

Access LAANC with SkyGrid

  • View Special Use Airspace data, airports and airspace classes, Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs). 
  • Check for both part-time and full-time National Security UAS Flight Restrictions (NSUFRs). See the example of UAS flight restrictions shown in red below: 

Simplify Flight Authorization and Compliance with LAANC

Note: If you are planning an operation in controlled airspace that requires a waiver and an airspace authorization you must apply for both through the FAA’s Drone Zone. 

Why use SkyGrid’s LAANC services?  

As a trusted UAS provider of the FAA’s LAANC service, we help drone operators maintain safe and compliant flights by ensuring they’re aware of the class airspace, boundaries, and advisories in their area, such as TFRs and NOTAMs. 

We make it easy for drone operators to access controlled airspace under 400 feet near airports with near real-time flight authorization. Part 107 pilots can also submit a further coordination request to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UAS Facility Map, up to 400 feet. 

SkyGrid Flight Control integrates LAANC directly into the flight scheduling workflow. Moreover, it automatically generates area exploration, waypoint, and multi-objective missions based on custom flight parameters, such as desired speed, altitude, and location. As you can see below, LAANC is not required for the mission plan on the left, and LAANC is required for the mission plan on the right and auto-approval is available.

Simplify Flight Authorization and Compliance with LAANC

Rather than planning a mission after LAANC authorization, this approach provides more assurance that all requirements are checked before you take flight. We recognized the challenge many drone operators are facing today by using several different tools to check airspace, get LAANC, plan flights, and safely execute them, so we set out to solve this challenge by providing one solution operators can use to manage their entire drone workflow.

 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the Apple App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features. 

Why Drone Programs Need to Integrate with New Technologies to Deliver Value

Ways Drone Programs Can Integrate With Other Robotics to Deliver Value

The use of drones in the commercial sector has skyrocketed in the last few years, and their potential is still yet to be fully seen. In 2016, the FAA defined the procedures for commercial drone use, and since then companies have increasingly turned to the new technology to support a number of business-facing priorities.

How drones are expected to impact multiple industries

The drone market size is expected to grow to a massive $63.6B by 2025, with much of that growth being driven by enterprise adoption in the agriculture, construction and mining, insurance, media and telecommunications, and law enforcement industries.

Because drones are able to get to hard to reach locations, they make perfect devices to assess the damage after a disaster, properly assess a construction site, and analyze farm fields to ensure crop output. Drones are also expected to make a huge impact on warehouse operations, improving overall inventory management, providing logistical support, and inspecting conditions that can help maintain a warehouse’s longevity.

Drones are also expected to be a major contributor to last-mile delivery, leading to deeper discounts companies can use to pass on to their customers and increase their market share.

But how organizations integrate and incorporate drones as part of their business development plans will be key in ensuring the technology makes a transformational impact. Several executive leaders have identified drone fleet management, airspace management, universal traffic management, as well as logistics, and operational management as crucial factors that need to be considered for drones to be used to their maximum potential.

How management solutions can address current challenges in drone management

Without the right drone management and airspace management system in place, your drone fleet program launch may lack key efficiencies that will eat away at the benefits you may have forecasted. 

Airspace visibility

Airspace visibility is crucial to ensure your drones have clear flight paths on their missions even in the face of external changes. Having a solution that accounts for changes in conditions and details is necessary in order to maintain operational efficiency and to keep your drones intact. 

A universal traffic management solution should be able to detect and alert you to any local environment conditions, any obstacles that may suddenly appear, and changes in weather conditions like temperature, wind, and precipitation. Without the right visibility, you’re essentially flying blind.

Maintenance gaps

Not being able to forecast maintenance requirements and overall drone performance can hinder a mission’s effectiveness and the longevity of your drone fleet. Having a platform that can not only predict when a drone will require a calibration adjustment or motor cleaning but also streamlines the process via measurable work orders centralizes the process, helping your team save time while increasing your drone’s longevity.

This can have significant long-term impacts on the effectiveness of your drone fleet, while minimizing any costs required in overall maintenance and drone device replacements.

Automating processes

Manual workflows can slow your team down as they try to obtain mission authorizations, certifications, and approvals, meet flight requirements, and ensure they’re adhering to any compliance or regulations. However, automated solutions can lessen the burden and automate many of the authorization requests, freeing up your team to handle more important and pressing tasks.

Leveraging key technologies for improving drone integration and performance

The use of AI has dramatically impacted how solutions handle drone management and airspace management. AI is, arguably, required, in order to handle and analyze the huge amounts of data that is constantly changing on a real-time basis. Otherwise, you may not be able to properly account for your airspace conditions or adapt your flight details in real-time. AI can give your team better information, faster, improving mission effectiveness.

New advances in blockchain technology and fostering the development of smart contracts can improve the certification and authorization process while helping drones meet flight requirements and specifications in certain airspaces. Blockchain technology can also be used to improve overall drone management, helping log flights and maintenance records in a more secure and accurate manner.

As organizations look to incorporate drones, they should take the time to ensure they have the right infrastructure and platforms to help support them.

To learn how SkyGrid’s AerialOS can help improve your airspace management, check out our overview page here



SkyGrid Named 2022 Edison Awards Winner

SkyGrid Named 2022 Edison Awards Winner

Now in its 35th year, the Edison Awards, conducted by Edison Universe, celebrate excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design, and innovation. And we’re incredibly honored that SkyGrid was named a 2022 winner in the Aerospace and Robotics: Flight Technologies category for our SkyGrid Flight Control™ app. This is the second year in a row SkyGrid’s solutions have been recognized on the Edison Awards list.

With more than 350 nominations, the Edison Awards honor a select number of companies who, through their leadership and achievements, have distinguished themselves by making a significant and lasting contribution to the world of innovation, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here at SkyGrid. 

Being recognized with an Edison Award two years in a row has been one of the highest recognitions we as a company can receive in the name of innovation and business. The awards are named after inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) and symbolize the persistence and excellence in innovation as personified by him. Winners represent “game-changing” products, services, excellence, and leadership in innovation around four criteria: Concept, Value, Delivery, and Impact. 

2022 Edison Awards

The SkyGrid Flight Control application has been available on the iPad for a while now, but this year our team released the app on the iPhone and made it available to a global audience of drone operators. As the only solution built on AI and blockchain, SkyGrid Flight Control offers a smarter, more complete solution to automate every phase of flight. 

Our app makes it easy for drone operators to explore the airspace, automate flights, and get real-time insights in one integrated solution, enabling safe, secure, and efficient operations. This powerful technology enables a more efficient approach to respond to natural disasters, transport medical supplies, surveil critical infrastructure, and much more. 

Ultimately, SkyGrid Flight Control is a first step forward in our vision to become the world’s most trusted airspace management system that integrates all unmanned aircraft in our globally shared airspace. 

I’m very proud of what our team has been able to accomplish. We believe in a future where millions of autonomous aircraft of all shapes and sizes will take to the skies to move our goods, improve our agriculture, augment our security and even provide safe transportation. 

Interested in trying out this award-winning app? Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free today in the Apple App Store. 

 

Free Airspace Map for Safe Drone Operations

Free Airspace Map for Safe Drone Operations

Navigating low-altitude airspace is complex. Drone operators need to monitor weather changes, avoid buildings and construction cranes, factor in risks on the ground and comply with shifting regulatory dynamics. That’s why we created your go-to airspace map for safe drone operations. 

Our free, SkyGrid Flight Control app provides a robust map of airspace, weather, regulatory, and location data, such as airspace traffic, hyper-local weather, flight restrictions, population density, and more, which is critical to help drone operators minimize risks in the airspace and more intelligently manage unmanned flights. Did we mention it’s easy to use? All the airspace data provided in our app makes it easy for drone operators to execute safe and compliant missions. 

Check out the quick overview from our team and read on for more details: 

 

Airspace and Weather Intelligence 

Our airspace intelligence includes advanced weather data, such as precipitation, temperature, wind direction and speed, cloud cover, visibility, and more. 

The hyper-local weather data is updated every 60 seconds and detailed to the 500-meter radius. When you consider how quickly weather patterns can change, more detailed, real-time data becomes critical to minimize risks in the airspace, mainly because these factors can impact the flight path, battery life, and overall success of the mission. Additionally, our map layers have layer legends, enabling drone operators to quickly understand and translate the ground intelligence and regulations in the operators’ flight area before take-off to stay compliant. 

As shown below, pilots can select a tile on our airspace map for an overview of the hyper-local weather details.  

SkyGrid Flight Control Free Airspace Map for Safe Drone Operations

Location Insights and Ground Intelligence  

Our location insights include roadway traffic, population density, local buildings, and obstacles. 

The traffic layer displays traffic density on roadways to help drone operators avoid flying over potentially dangerous situations like congested areas that may pose a risk to vehicles and people on the ground. As you’d expect, the green roads represent light traffic whereas the red roads represent heavy traffic. Operators can use this tool to understand what time of the day has the least amount of traffic and schedule their missions accordingly. Additionally, the population density map layer helps visualize a heavily populated area when operating a drone. 

SkyGrid Flight Control Free Airspace Map for Safe Drone Operations

Drone pilots can evaluate the airspace with a variety of map styles, such as satellite view or in 3D, making it easier to plan inspections and other object-centric flights. When reviewing their mission plan, a different point of view is also helpful for drone pilots to ensure there are no buildings or infrastructures too close to the flight path. 

SkyGrid Flight Control Free Airspace Map for Safe Drone Operations gif

Regulatory Data and Advisories  

Our regulatory data includes airspace classes and advisories from the FAA, such as National Security UAS Flight Restrictions. We also display the FAA’s UAS Facility Maps that show the pre-approved ceilings in controlled airspace where LAANC is available for auto-approval.  

With LAANC operators can: 

  • Check local airspace and explore where it’s safe to fly.  
  • Request authorization from the FAA up to 30 days before taking flight. 
  • Access U.S. controlled airspace at or below 400 feet. 
  • View past, present and scheduled authorizations.  

For example, the area in purple shows Class C airspace where auto-approval is available up to the pre-approved altitude displayed in the grid, and the area in green indicates Class D airspace.

SkyGrid Flight Control Free Airspace Map for Safe Drone Operations

For enterprises, SkyGrid also offers advanced data layers based on the unique needs of the mission. These data layers can include manned air traffic, foot traffic, radar-detected objects, and other data layers customized to the specific enterprise. To further simplify drone operations, enterprises can also leverage our AI technology to automatically plan, execute, and adapt flights as conditions change.
 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features. 

Advancing the Use of AI and Blockchain Technology for Air Traffic Management

SkyGrid Advancing the Use of AI and Blockchain Technology for Air Traffic Management

Today, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are making their mark in various industries, especially in government and defense operations. The global military drone market is progressing at an unprecedented pace, and the technology and its application to military operations continue to expand across the world. The growing global military UAV market is projected to reach $26.12 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 12.78%. The considerable increase in UAVs used for defense, EMS, fire, and law enforcement demands a groundbreaking approach to operate these autonomous vehicles safely and efficiently in first responder scenarios such as search and rescue missions, heavy lift cargo, fire response, and medical evacuation. 

New technologies have real potential to assist first responders. For instance, UAVs could make response faster, more targeted, keep responders safer, and provide opportunities for missions impossible for manned aircraft. However, these UAVs also require unique air traffic management solutions, advanced communications to keep everyone aware of what’s happening on the ground and in the sky, and onboarding tools to let them operate safely. 

Working to tackle these challenges  

SkyGrid, in partnership with SparkCognition Government Systems (SGS) and LIFT Aircraft, has been awarded a contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) through its SBIR Phase II program to advance the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology for air traffic management. 

Together, our companies will help enable the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to safely and efficiently operate unmanned aerial vehicles in first responder scenarios by applying AI and blockchain technology to manage the airspace for autonomous vehicles, specifically HEXA, LIFT’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. 

AI-powered platform to optimize air traffic management 

Artificial intelligence is a key driver in revolutionizing air traffic management systems. Built on AI, the SkyGrid platform takes a smarter approach to aerial mobility.    

For example, SkyGrid’s AI algorithms analyze crucial data, such as airspace traffic, local conditions, ground risks, flight restrictions, and weather forecasts to avoid hazardous conditions. Equipped with AI, in-flight monitoring to ensure safe operations and optimal paths is possible. Our system also monitors drone flights in real-time and notifies operators of anomalies, automatically generating new routes to avoid obstacles or restricted airspace. 

AI-powered air traffic management enables intelligent deconfliction of flights based on real-world variables by sensing and avoiding other aircraft and objects with pre-flight and in-flight deconfliction capabilities. Continuous fleet health monitoring and predictive maintenance optimize drone fleets and reduce time to service with fleet performance recommendations. Our AI-based system automatically generates maintenance tickets and assigns them to technicians upon landing at a facility and tracks all drones, flight logs, and service records in a single dashboard.   

Blockchain-based airspace management to ensure immutable data reporting  

Blockchain technology helps eliminate the potential for human error in the airspace. Augmented with smart contracts, blockchain is the key to ensuring unmanned flights comply with the airspace rules and regulations.  

An airspace system built on blockchain technology makes it easy for operators to share accurate flight plans in real-time and maintain high standards of auditability. Our blockchain-backed system assigns a unique ID to every drone and maintains a real-time record of each drone’s status, flight details (e.g., altitude, location, operator), and maintenance history, as historical flight logs are also crucial to ensure the security and integrity of data exchanged between operators, authorities, and service suppliers. Each flight log is linked to the previous record with cryptography, so they can’t be altered retroactively.  

The decentralized nature of a blockchain system also provides more security than traditional, centralized storage since there’s not one database a bad actor can compromise. This approach enables authorities to analyze flight data and determine a sequence of events with certainty. It gives organizations a secure, accurate record of their flights to evaluate performance and optimize operations.  

Leading the way to advance air traffic management 

By combining SGS’s advanced AI technologies, SkyGrid’s AI and blockchain-based airspace management capabilities, and LIFT’s state-of-the-art UAVs, our companies will develop an air traffic management solution that provides defense, EMS, fire, and law enforcement with the means to advance their missions and more quickly respond to emergency situations. 

All-in-One Drone App for Pilots and Enterprises

SkyGrid Fllight Control All-in-One Drone App for Pilots and Enterprises

In case you missed it, we launched our all-in-one drone app, SkyGrid Flight Control, on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad users across the world. After the positive response to our iPad application in the US, we had to make our app available to a global audience of drone users.  

SkyGrid Flight Control All-in-One Drone App

The skies are opening up for the drone industry, and SkyGrid Flight Control™ is leading the flock. As the only drone application powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies, SkyGrid Flight Control enables drone operators to manage their entire drone workflow with an all-in-one application, facilitating safe, secure, and efficient drone operations. 

We set out to solve the challenges many drone operators face today by automating every phase of flight in one solution, eliminating the manual workflows, and allowing drone operators to safely explore our shared airspace. 

Our easy-to-use airspace map includes advanced weather, location, and regulatory insights to make more informed decisions before you fly. Our drone flight planner minimizes manual workflows with automated mission plans and autonomous flight execution. As an FAA-approved UAS Service Supplier of Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) 4.0., SkyGrid also provides authorization to fly in controlled airspace in near-real-time.  

SkyGrid Flight Control All-in-One Drone App for Pilots and Enterprises

So why use SkyGrid for your drone operations? Bottom line, we do the heavy lifting. Our app makes it easy to explore the airspace and automate airspace authorization, mission planning, and flight execution to simplify your drone operations. 

Learn more about the app experience in our latest video: 

Stay tuned as we’ll have more insights to share from our product experts in the coming weeks! 

In the meantime, you can get started today by downloading SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the Apple App Store. You can also check out our advanced enterprise features, such as geofencing, custom object detection, and multi-drone missions, for more complex drone operations. 

A Holistic Approach to UAV Safety

SkyGrid Flight Control: A Holistic Approach to UAV Safety

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts the future of commercial UAS fleet by 2025. 

From autonomous drones to air taxis, the urban air mobility market has advanced rapidly over the last two to three years. These drones are performing real commercial tasks – they are delivering packages, conducting industrial inspections, providing emergency assistance, and will eventually transport people.  

Based on the latest data, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts the commercial UAS fleet by 2025 will likely number 835,000 vehicles. 1.7 times larger than the current number of commercial sUAS. More drones are expected to take flight in coming years spanning a wide range of civilian and commercial use cases, but all this comes with as-yet unaddressed challenges. Drone data integrity, maintenance, and drone deconfliction need to be addressed. These issues range in severity from inconvenient to dangerous. On the one hand, significant growth in drone numbers and capability is incredibly exciting, however, this also presents a major challenge in terms of effectively protecting aircraft systems from being attacked by zero-day cybersecurity threats remotely. 

SkyGrid: A Holistic Approach to UAV Safety
Preventing Malicious Activity with AI-Powered Cybersecurity

With the rise of communication between people and devices and the rise of computing performance, aircraft such as drones are not immune to cybersecurity risks that have become prevalent and critical issues for other industries. Large numbers of airborne drones are essentially a network of flying computers in the sky. Just like the computers we use today, these drones can be hacked if not secured properly, posing dangers when they are flying close to a crowd of people or a busy highway. 

In this emerging environment, new security threats will often take the form of previously unseen, “zero-day” attacks. Traditional anti-malware software, dependent on signatures of known threats, will not be adequate to detect such sophisticated, new malware.  

AI-powered cybersecurity holds the key to detecting malicious activity on the edge and preventing it from making its way on to a drone or executing on its computer systems. An AI-based approach can learn the DNA – the structure – of what a malicious file might look like instead of merely relying on an existing threat database. This type of technology can function even when network connectivity is non-existent or impaired and can defend drones against zero-day threats. AI-powered cybersecurity will be key in ensuring public safety by providing an adaptable system that protects against never-before-seen attacks.  

Leveraging machine learning technology combined with a “defense in depth” approach can provide multiple layers of protection for an endpoint. Cognitive cybersecurity solutions enable more advanced airspace security than traditional anti- malware systems which remain reliant on signatures of known threats. In contrast to known signatures, heuristics, or other dated rules-based approaches to detect security threats, the DeepArmor® product uses patented machine learning technology and a layered protection strategy to protect a drone’s endpoints. Not only can DeepArmor® protect drones from known threats, its machine-learning detection engine also uses advanced classification algorithms to predict and prevent zero-day attacks, enhancing protection. 

SkyGrid A Holistic Approach to UAV Safety
A new era of protection for drones in defense

DeepArmor® is already proven and effective in the commercial sector. Now, the technology can be extended for use on UAVs within the defense industry to counter national security threats. Considering emerging threats as seen in the capture of the RQ- 170 by Iran are now a fact of life, an AI-based approach is critical to detect and prevent such cyberattacks. The DeepArmor® Aerial product can provide this detection and protection by deploying directly on drone hardware even when network connectivity is impaired or non-existent. 

Boeing and SparkCognition’s joint venture, SkyGrid, is taking this new, intelligent approach to security by employing AI to detect and prevent cyberattacks from impacting a drone, a payload, or a ground station. Integrated with SkyGrid’s airspace management system, AerialOS™, the DeepArmor® product can be deployed directly on drone hardware to extend AI protection and defend drones from sophisticated cyber-attacks. 

By Zehra Akbar, VP, Strategy & Operations of SkyGrid. This article was originally published in Cognitive Times Vol.17. 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features. 

SkyGrid Flight Control: One app for airspace, flights, and insights

SkyGrid Flight Control - Automated drone operations for pilots and enterprises

As drone technology advances, its applications are evolving rapidly across the globe. Drones are delivering medical supplies, samples, and pharmaceuticals. They’re assessing hurricane damage and delivering aid to affected areas. And they’re surveying oil pipelines to inspect damage and prevent leaks. 

From retail and logistics to healthcare and energy, drones are disrupting a wide variety of industries and upending outdated business models. Even with all this progress, drone operations remain comp- lex and challenging. The burden falls on drone operators to manually plan, execute, and adapt their flights in the rapidly changing airspace. They’re expected to monitor weather changes, avoid buildings and construction cranes, navigate around roadway traffic, and comply with shifting regulatory dynamics. 

But this approach isn’t scalable. As an organization’s fleet grows, it’s not feasible to manually plan and execute every flight that’s delivering a package, conducting an inspection, or responding to an emergency. Automation is critical to safely scale drone operations and enable more advanced missions. 

SkyGrid is addressing this challenge with a smarter drone solution that automates every phase of flight. Powered by SkyGrid’s AerialOS™, SkyGrid Flight Control makes it easy for drone operators to explore the airspace, automate airspace authorization, mission planning, flight execution, object detection, and get real-time insights in one end-to-end solution. We eliminate manual workflows by automating drone flight planning and autonomously executing the mission.

SkyGrid Flight Control: Powering The Next Generation of Aviation

Here’s how it works: 

1. Check airspace conditions

SkyGrid Flight Control provides detailed airspace, regulatory, and location data to help drone operators make more informed flight decisions. Our airspace intelligence includes advanced weather data, such as precipitation, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, visibility, and more. Our regulatory data includes airspace classes and advisories from the FAA, such as UAS flight restrictions. And our location insights include local buildings, obstacles, population density, elevation, and roadway traffic. 

SkyGrid Flight Control Airspace Conditions

2. Generate a flight plan

SkyGrid Flight Control automatically generates mission plans based on the drone operator’s flight parameters, such as start and end time, desired speed, altitude, and location. Our drone mission planner minimizes manual workflows with automated mission planning and autonomous flight execution. Streamline operations with AI-based route planning, intelligent rerouting and automated deconfliction from aircraft and obstacles. 

3. Get flight authorization

As a trusted supplier of the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), SkyGrid provides real-time flight authorization in U.S. controlled airspace un- der 400 feet. We simplify compliance by integrating LAANC directly into the flight planning workflow. That means drone operators can seamlessly plan their mission, ensure their flight meets all FAA requirements, and get auto-approval to fly. 

SkyGrid Flight Control: One app for airspace, flights, and insights

4. Autonomously execute your flight

Once the flight plan is generated and authorized, operators can connect their drone to autonomously execute the pre-defined flight plan. With a Part 107 Waiver, SkyGrid Flight Control can also support multi-drone missions by optimizing the distribution of multiple drones over a defined area based on a defined timeframe or fleet size. Our live video feed allows operators to monitor each flight simultaneously and pause missions as needed. 

5. Detect objects in real-time

During flight, drone operators can also detect key objects, such as vehicles, people, and animals, with our AI computer vision. This technology can be a powerful tool to quickly gain situational awareness after a traffic incident, identify potential threats near critical infrastructure, or detect defects in an oil and gas pipeline. Based on the needs of the mission, our algorithms can be trained to detect and track customized objects. 

SkyGrid Flight Control: One app for airspace, flights, and insights

Ultimately, we believe in a future where millions of autonomous aircraft of all shapes and sizes will take to the skies to move our goods, improve our agriculture, augment our security, and even provide safe transportation. SkyGrid Flight Control is the first step toward enabling this future. 

 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features. 

Best Places to Fly Drones in Texas

Pennybacker Bridge in Austin, TX

The top 10 sites to fly drones in Texas State covering 4 city regions. They are Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.

One important thing to understand about flying a drone in any city is that under federal FAA regulations, you are either operating recreationally or commercially. 

  • Commercial drone pilots fall under the FAA’s Part 107 regulations, which require passing a multiple-choice test and becoming an FAA-certified drone pilot, which are laid out here. 

Recreational and commercial flyers can easily identify controlled airspace and get authorization to fly using our free SkyGrid Flight Control app. As an FAA-approved LAANC supplier, SkyGrid provides real-time flight authorization in U.S. controlled airspace within the pre-approved altitude ceilings. This service is available to both Part 107-licensed and recreational drone pilots. Reminder to always be aware of your local drone laws. Here is a helpful list of drone laws by US State. 

Note: The content on this page is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of legal counsel. When in doubt, follow the FAA’s guidelines. 

Now let’s dive right in with some of the best places to fly drones in Texas and its larger cities. The favorable drone skies listed here are great choices for amateur and professional pilots.  

The Best 10 Locations to Fly Drones in Texas State 

Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas, it is culturally rich, demographically diverse and has one of the finest research universities in the world. Here are 3 of the best places to fly drones in and around Austin area. 

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Austin, Texas
#1 Pennybacker Bridge Overlook 

Pennybacker Bridge Overlook (which is also known as the The Austin 360 Bridge) is an architecturally pleasant bridge on Austin’s west side that allows Highway 360 and pedestrians to cross Lake Austin/the Colorado River. This bridge is commonly photographed for Austin promotion/tourism brochures. The bridge also has a wonderful overlook accessible by this trail that is well worth a quick stop if passing by. It is a beautiful spot, and one with incredible sunsets.  

Location: N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78730, USA 

#2 Sand Beach Park 

There are some stunning drone-friendly stretches along the Colorado River, and one of those is Sand Beach Park, TX (sometimes also called Open Room). It has a beautiful piece of usable community art–a large sculpture in the form of a picnic table, and a wide-open green space from where you can operate drones. The attractions for aerial footage are picturesque views of the city skyline and surrounding riverscape. Bridge lovers can get some great shots here of the James D. Pfluger Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge providing access to Lady Bird Lake. 

Location: 111 Sandra Muraida Way, Austin, TX 78703, USA 

#3 Miruna Park 

Miruna Park is located on Windy Point which extends out onto Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. It’s a beautiful spot, popular for its clear blue waters and picturesque scenery. Visitors come here to relax, enjoy picnics, camping, and more. Drone pilots love this location to get footage of the impressive 18,930-acre lake and surrounding landscape.  

Location: 6506 Bob Wentz Park Rd, Austin, TX 78732, USA 

San Antonio is a major city in south-central Texas with a rich colonial heritage. Here are 2 of the best places to fly drones in and around San Antonio area. 

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San Antonio, Texas
#4 Comanche Lookout Park 

The green, scenic 96-acre Comanche Lookout Park in Bexar County has a unique vantage point. The site includes the fourth highest point in of 1,340 feet, and on top of the hill is the stone four-story Comanche Tower. The tower and its surrounding views creates some exciting aerial drone footage of this unusual scenery. 

Location: 15551 Nacogdoches Rd, San Antonio, TX, USA 

#5 Denman Estate Park 

San Antonio’s 21-acre Denman Estate Park is an blissful spot. The main attraction is the large pond, shaded by mature oak trees and the Korean monument, hand-crafted by artisans from our sister city Gwangju, Korea. Other park attractions include a scenic trail and the large open green field for recreation activities. Drone pilots can capture some impressive footage here. 

Location: 7735 Mockingbird Ln, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA 

Dallas is a modern metropolis in north Texas and is the commercial and cultural hub of the region. Here are 3 of the best places to fly drones in and around Dallas area. 

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Dallas, Texas
#6 Lake Cliff Park 

The 45-acre Lake Cliff Park sits between leafy Oak Cliff and Dallas CBD, built around a sunken lake that forms the core of the naturalistic landscape. It is well over 100 years old now, but it is more popular today than it has ever been. Visitors get to enjoy relaxing green spaces, a small lake, water features, and scented rose gardens. Bounded by bald cypress, eastern red cedar, pecans, and cottonwoods, the lake reflects the downtown Dallas skyline behind the serene lake that is especially appealing for pilots of camera drones. 

Location: 300 E Colorado Blvd, Dallas, TX 75201, USA 

#7 Lewisville Lake 

Few drone pilots can resist filming recreational reservoirs given a chance. The 29000-acre Lake Lewisville in North Texas is inviting. It boasts over 200 miles of shoreline, wooded parks, and huge expanses of blue water. Make sure you bring spare drone batteries. This park is filled with activity around the facilities of Party Cove. Some of those include fishing, boating, swimming, camping, hiking, dining, and more. 

Location: 600 Sandy Beach Rd Lewisville, TX, USA 

#8 White Rock Lake Park 

You can find the 1015-acre White Rock Lake Park just 5 miles northeast of Dallas, TX. This remarkable reservoir is the result of damming the 30-mile White Rock Creek. It offers a clear setting for camera drones with sweeping views of the vast lake and landscape surrounding the lake. There are plenty activity options to enjoy here when you’re not flying. Examples include boating, cycling, hiking, strolls along the pier, and more. 

Location: E Lawther Dr, Dallas, TX 75218, USA 

Houston, America’s fourth-largest city is a cosmopolitan destination, filled with world-class dining, arts, hotels, shopping, and nightlife. Here are 2 of the best places to fly drones in and around Houston area. 

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Houston, Texas
#9 The Kemah Boardwalk Amusement Park 

The Kemah Boardwalk is a 60-acre Texas Gulf Coast theme park in Kemah, Texas, approximately 30 miles southeast of Downtown Houston, Texas. It is an exciting, colorful, and vibrant place, considered by many as the country’s best boardwalk. Aside from the amusements, Kemah Boardwalk also boasts some amazing waterfront restaurants and stores. The attractions are appealing for pilots of camera drone users are plentiful. Trinity bay is an excellent place to film the water and surrounding urban landscape safely. Point to note: Please be mindful of FAA regulations when flying close to people, especially crowds. 

Location: 215 Kipp Ave, Kemah, TX 77565, USA 

#10 Terramar Beach 

The Terramar Beach is a Galveston residential and recreational space about 20 miles to the southwest of downtown. The community allows public access to its beach. It is a favorite for birdwatching, boat launching, and the local marina. This is an ideal place to operate drones. Consider a trip here if you would like to add breathtaking views of West Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico to your portfolio. 

Location: Galveston, TX 77554, USA  

There are numerous places of natural beauty and distinct urban skylines in the state of Texas. Remember to do your homework and check Local laws before you take to the skies. Drone pilots can easily identify controlled airspace and get authorization to fly using our free SkyGrid Flight Control app.  

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features.

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