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The ability to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) significantly improves their effectiveness and potential. The increased range of BVLOS operations requires real-time airspace situational awareness for the UAV pilot and support crew to ensure safe, repeatable operations.
Canadian UAVs and Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide an unmanned traffic management solution to meet this challenge. This solution will build a complete airspace picture necessary to conduct unmanned operations beyond visual line of sight in Canada and beyond.
“A complete airspace picture is an absolute necessity to conduct unmanned flights beyond visual line of sight,” said Dustin Engen, Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems business development manager. “When combined, Canadian UAV’s Sparrowhawk radar and our VCSi product will offer all users this complete picture and provide the necessary situational awareness for BVLOS flights in Canada and abroad.”
Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems will provide integration support for the vehicle control station software called VCSi, a universal ground control system based on more than 1.5 million flight hours in military and commercial flight operations. Canadian UAVs will integrate their low-cost, ground-based radar, Sparrowhawk, into VCSi to provide users with a complete airspace picture of manned and unmanned aviation tracking with collision avoidance. Sparrowhawk has been instrumental in Canadian UAVs’ first permitted BVLOS flights outside of restricted airspace in Canadian history. The company will also develop hardware and artificial intelligence software as part of Project Skysensus, a five-year investment from Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefit (ITB) Policy.
“With Canadian UAVs’ advanced market position in BVLOS operations, we are seeing a lot of gaps in what the general market offers to solve fundamental technological issues in unmanned aviation,” said Sean Greenwood, president of Canadian UAVs. “As a result, we developed a technology road-map that invests in a comprehensive tool set to increase flight safety and repeatability as these operations increase in volume and airspace complexity. We have been working with Lockheed Martin CDL Systems for several years and we are very excited by this agreement to formalize the relationship.”