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NOAA selects Black Swift Technologies for GPS-denied navigation of UAS

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an American scientific agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, has awarded Black Swift Technologies (BST) the contract to develop commercially viable technology enabling GPS-denied navigation of unmanned aircraft system (UAS)-technology which will be critical in enabling long-distance surveys to fetch data beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights.

The US department has a humongous task of surveying 95,000 miles of domestic coastline. As per the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) rules, the UAS operators have to keep their aircraft within visual line of sight, making the surveying a daunting and tedious task. To tackle this challenge, Back Swift’s technology will be useful.

Jack Elston, Ph.D., CEO of Black Swift Technologies told a space news-daily, “Enabling BVLOS operations in the National Airspace System is largely an issue of improved sensing. Operators, both government and commercial, are looking to perform missions over longer distances. These users represent a number of currently under-utilized applications for UAS due to capability and regulations—applications such as aerial imaging, environmental observation, precision agriculture, and infrastructure monitoring and inspection.”

The accurate aircraft position information is of critical value for safe UAS operations within the Unmanned Systems Traffic Management (UTM). The current primary system is quite poor in terms of GPS-led system due to jamming, spoofing, on-board signal failure, and the issue of network connectivity. Through BST’s aim to provide a robust secondary option, the system through augmented sensor suits and machine learning sensibilities will provide accurate positions of GPS-denied areas.

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