A partnership between a British drone-tech company and one of London’s most prestigious colleges has developed an advanced drone air-traffic system with a boost from Microsoft.
Angel Altitude and a team of 14 undergraduate computing students from Imperial College recently announced the results of a six-month research project to develop “the Internet of Flying Things – an open, global platform that connects drone users, manufacturers, authorities, software developers and other aviation stakeholders with a rich source of airspace and regulatory data, plus advanced back-end services including flight automation and collision avoidance,” according to a press release.
Using computing power from Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform, students designed several algorithms to develop the optimal UTM system and demonstrated that more than 1,000 drones can “successfully co-exist with both manned and unmanned aviation in a 1 km area, crossing paths at a safe distance without human intervention.”
“The students came up with some really innovative designs which complement our existing solution,” Angel Altitude Head of Product Lawrence Gripper. “The proof of concept research undertaken is truly groundbreaking. We are already investigating options for further development of these options.”
Two student teams competed to develop the most successful algorithm to ensure drones don’t crash into manned aircraft and other airborne objects.
Imperial College Professor William J. Knottenbelt explains:
“This project demonstrates why it is so mutually beneficial for computer science students to interact with industry. In this instance, our students were empowered to achieve to the best of their potential by Altitude Angel, who provided valuable domain expertise, test infrastructure and regular feedback, and Microsoft, who provided cloud-based resources. It also shows the importance of being open to ideas from other disciplines: in this case the physics-based notion of treating the drones as charged particles which naturally repel one another turned out to be a critical element of the solution.”
Earlier this year, Altitude Angel partnered with NATS, the organization that handles UK air traffic control. The project saw the development of the Drone Assist App, a platform providing air-safety data to drone pilots.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.