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05.14.2015

PrecisionHawk LATAS may help drones work beyond line of sight

Interview conducted by TheDroneInfo.com 

We reached out to the PrecisionHawk team about their role in the Pathfinder Program and how PrecisionHawk LATAS may be involved

LATAS

What is PrecisionHawk LATAS you ask?  According to the PrecisionHawk web site:

“LATAS, which stands for Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System. An onboard system that provides flight planning, tracking and avoidance for every drone in the sky using real-time flight data transmission based on existing world-wide cellular networks. Developed to be plug and play or integrated into a UAV’s circuit during manufacturing, LATAS is small (3x2x1in), light (>100G) and operational on network speeds as low as 2G.”

Upon learning of the PrecisionHawk involvement in the Pathfinder Program we reached out to them with a couple of quick questions.

Q. What made you the right company for the Pathfinder project?

This is certainly an exciting opportunity. There are so many positive use cases for UAV technology and we have years of experience working with international regulatory bodies to showcase safe operations. This project is a very proactive step forward for the industry, and we look forward to contributing to its growth.

Q. You will be helping in an area many of us continue to be the biggest challenge to commercial drone usage, line of sight usage. The Press Release notes: “PrecisionHawk will begin testing in coordination with the six designated UAS test sites. Under the Pathfinder program, the Lancaster platform will be able to fly beyond line of sight under certain conditions. The goal will be to guide regulations to include this type of flight activity for all UAS in the future. PrecisionHawk will provide the FAA with R&D test flights and test data to assist with regulations around UAS integration.”

Are there any technical limitation with the technology itself preventing flying beyond line of sight?

The technology is in a place that will enable beyond line of sight operations safely while separating UAVs from manned aircraft and ground obstacles. We envision the PrecisionHawk LATAS hardware as a piece of technology that can fit on any UAV platform and tap into the overarching traffic management system, but in order to get there, we will need to work with industry partners to test the system on numerous platforms and in various use cases.

Q. Will PrecisionHawk be incorporating technology from other vendors as a part of this process or will all technology be yours?

We hope to work with other leaders in the space as well as vendors outside of the industry to test the PrecisionHawk LATAS technology. We want to find the right solution no matter where that comes from, and we are excited to work as a collective to find the most complete solution. A win for the Pathfinder program is really a win for the entire industry as we determine safe and reliable solutions for widespread UAS integration.

Watch the PrecisionHawk video on LATAS