Kittyhawk, a leader in drone operations software, has added a new feature to its popular mobile application platform Flight Deck. The automated flight system allows a drone to use pre-plan a drone flight on the mobile app. The feature allows for the entire flight, including takeoff, landing and multiple waypoints, to be planned on the mobile app and then executed seamlessly, without intervention.
The Flight Deck platform
The Kittyhawk platform is a flight operations and management solution that offers pre-flight planning, data collection and post-flight assessments. The platform is offered through a mobile application. In May 2017, Kittyhawk launched the Flight Deck, a real-time flight solution to manage drone flights, with integrated in-flight controls and multiple functionalities.
Flight deck offers automated flight logging and real-time co-ordination between the flight vehicle, the pilot and the base centre. This allows large-scale drone fleet managers improved visibility and control over their flight operations. Flight Deck also offers:
- centralized data collection and real-time sync across all applications
- live secure video capabilities
- secure data encryption and cloud storage
- real-time traffic (in conjunction with the AirMap platform) and location alerts, allowing compliance with local airspace restrictions
- real-time weather forecast updates
- pre-flight checklists
- removes the need to use multiple apps during a drone flight
The Automated Flight System
Kittyhawk has now added an automated flight system feature to their Flight Deck platform. The automated system allows an operator to plan and execute a complete flight, right from its takeoff to landing and in-flight control, through a mobile application. The automated system complements Kittyhawk’s existing platform offering secure multi-channel live audio and video streaming.
This should allow the operator to focus on real-time data collection, management and analysis, instead of having to focus on flight control. Law enforcement monitoring of a set perimeter or disaster rescue operations within a specified area are typical real life uses that could benefit from this system.
The multi-waypoint automated flight system is simple to use. The user sets pre-defined starting and landing coordinates, mid-flight coordinates for turns and flight altitude to define the complete flight path. The user has the freedom to choose an unlimited number of waypoints, allowing complete flexibility in creating a flight path.
The mobile application also incorporates an in-built safety feature that ensures drone flights comply with visual line of sight (BVLOS) regulations, among others. The software uses the geographic location of the operator to determine the range of potential drone flights and shows only those potential flights that can be completed within that range.
Innovation in drone technology is set to stretch the boundaries of possibilities for drones. Autonomous capabilities are the next step in drone evolution that could open up new horizons and define drone usage in commercial applications. With the ever growing popularity of drones, it is becoming even more essential that drones are operated in a safe environment and comply with legal restrictions. Innovation in real-time applications and safety features are set to be the buzzwords in drone development in the coming years.