Boeing is teaming up with an artificial intelligence software developer SparkCognition to produce and develop a sense-and-avoid traffic management system to integrate drones and manned aircraft. The joint venture is called SkyGrid, described by its founders as, ‘a new company that will enable the future of urban aerial mobility’.
The software will feature blockchain technology, artificial intelligence-enabled dynamic traffic routing, data analytics and cybersecurity features. SkyGrid says it will enable customers to safely perform a broad range of missions and services using drones, including package delivery, industrial inspections and emergency assistance. SkyGrid will also ‘ensure the safe, secure integration of autonomous cargo and passenger air vehicles in the global airspace’.
The system will include in-flight capabilities to handle weather monitoring, alerts, flight path modifications, remote pilot in control (RPIC) handoff, as well as autonomous navigation and failsafe measures.
The general manager of Boeing NeXt, the Boeing business unit dedicated to developing ‘urban, regional and global mobility’ technologies, Steve Nordlund, said SkyGrid would enable short range urban air transport. ‘SkyGrid is building the digital infrastructure that will make safe, seamless commercial and personal transport possible for billions of people around the world,’ he said.
The founder and chief executive of SparkCognition, Amir Husain, said some analysts had estimated the urban aerial mobility market at $US3 trillion. ‘The urban aerial mobility opportunity will lead to the creation of the largest new market in our lifetimes,’ he said.