Celebrating 5 Years of Unlocking the Potential of Autonomous Flight

Celebrating 5 Years of Unlocking the Potential of Autonomous Flight

As SkyGrid marks its 5th anniversary, we reflect on our journey and share how our company’s vision has evolved while staying true to our values and mission.

In 2019 Boeing and SparkCognition joined forces to imagine the future of autonomous flight. SkyGrid was born. UAS has already proven its value across a multitude of industries. The unmanned aerial systems (UAS) revolution was well underway. Looking to a future where millions of UAVs of all sizes perform vital commercial, mobility, and public service missions, these two companies recognized a gap in the industry. They knew that a system to safely integrate and manage autonomous aircraft would be essential for opening the UAS market. By combining Boeing’s deep aerospace pedigree with SparkCognition’s AI expertise, we set out to create a world where autonomous aircraft could safely coexist with crewed aircraft, opening the skies to endless possibilities.


Evolution Through Experience: The Shift Towards High Assurance

Initially, SkyGrid focused on Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) and distributed command and control for small UAS. We launched sophisticated mission planning tools on iOS and Android, garnering widespread acclaim. This phase was crucial in laying the groundwork for what SkyGrid would become.

As we delved deeper into UAS and the emerging domain of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), a critical realization emerged: the true potential of autonomous flight lay in achieving high safety and assurance. It wasn’t just about flying; it was about performing with high confidence in high-stakes and high-complexity operations that promised significant economic and societal benefits. The evolution towards high assurance meant embracing the challenges of integrating autonomous aircraft safely into the airspace, building systems with aerospace-grade assurances, and winning regulatory approval to enable flexible and scaled operations.

The journey also involved hard realizations, particularly around the limited potential of commoditized UTMs. UTM service providers often steered clear of offering safety-critical data and services due to the complexities and responsibilities involved. SkyGrid took a bold step. We chose to tackle these challenges head-on because we want to help build an impactful, industrial-grade, UAS economy. The path to economic value flows through safety and assurance. And we are committed to taking real responsibility when shaping the future of air mobility.


The Flightpath Ahead

SkyGrid exists to open the sky for autonomous flight. We endeavor to solve two pivotal, interconnected challenges facing the autonomous aviation and AAM industry: the safe integration of UAS into airspace and scaling airspace access for AAM vehicles.

To build this future, we build high-assurance third-party services to enable the safe operations and integration of autonomous aircraft. Our services will allow autonomous aircraft to operate with the same level of situational awareness and system assurance as if a pilot were onboard. We also act as a key operational nexus for advanced air mobility, integrating and managing data, infrastructure, and traffic to support seamless and efficient operations.

By building an integrated, approved, and turn-key platform, we empower aircraft OEMs and operators to take the lead in aerial mobility. By enabling and streamlining the operational approval for autonomous aircraft, we aim to catalyze the AAM industry.

As we celebrate this milestone, we envision a future where autonomous flight is not just possible but routine, efficient, and incredibly safe. A future where the sight of an autonomous cargo aircraft, an air taxi, or a parcel drone dashing overhead is unremarkable because everything just works. The vision of this extraordinary new normal drives us forward.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our journey thus far. Here’s to building the future of autonomous flight, together.