Droniq is working on integrating UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) a.k.a. drones into the (controlled) airspace, in a reliable, secure and affordable way. By making drones “visible” for other aircraft and airspace control, a significant increase in operational safety can be achieved. To do this, they developed a hook-on-device (HOD) called HOD4track, which can be mounted to almost any UAS on the market.
From research project to spin-off
Droniq was founded as a spin-off of the research project “connected drones”, which was initiated by Deutsche Flugsicherung and Deutsche Telekom in 2016. The project was awarded as the best-practice solution by the German mobility prize of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in 2018. The goal of the project was to demonstrate that drones can be safely integrated into the airspace by using existing technologies, like LTE, GNSS and FLARM to unleash their full economic potential. A drone safety solution is highly appreciated with millions of aircraft expected in the future.
UAS Traffic management
Droniq has developed a drone traffic management system (UTM), an independent web platform for drone operators to perform below line-of-sight missions, like power grid inspections. The UTM calculates a real-time airspace situation display. All drones that are signed into the system are visualised together with their flight routes. Alerts are triggered for potential collisions and airspace can be blocked on demand or when necessary. When the drone operator logs into the UTM the position is calculated by the HOD continuously and independent from the UAS flight controller. If necessary, FLARM signals recieved from surrounding air traffic are also sent to the UTM. Additionally, the drone’s position is sent via FLARM, making it visible to other aircraft nearby.
Tracking with GNSS and LTE
The position of the HOD is tracked by a u-blox M8 GNSS module, which supports up to three GNSS systems including GPS/Galileo together with BeiDou or GLONASS at meter accuracy. These low-cost multi-constellation GNSS-receivers are affordable for start-ups at a price-range of under 100€. Operating at 5 V and consuming <400 mA, the whole device weighs only 35g, which is very energy efficient when mounted on drones. Even fully equipped with antennas and an external battery, it weighs only 149g. The 4-way antenna constellation enables LTE, GNSS, FLARM and ADS-B signals to be processed simultaneously.
Galileo PRS pilot project
Droniq is working on a pilot project together with the German Military (Wehrtechnische Dienststelle der Bundeswehr Manching), Fraunhofer IIS and Deutsche Flugsicherung to test anti-spoofing and anti-jamming GNSS applications for civil aviation. The Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) has been selected to provide this service for critical navigation. The consortium has built a demonstrator, which is using Galileo PRS on the HOD. This generation of the device transmits the encrypted Galileo PRS signal to the UTM. The goal is to have a protected server environment to decrypt the code within the infrastructure at Deutsche Flugsicherung. This would allow safe operations within the DFS Data Center, together with the UTM.
The market lacks a civil spam and
spoof safe GNSS to date. That’s why Droniq
integrates Galileo into their newest HOD,
using the secured Galileo Public Regulated
Service (PRS). A high precision and secure navigation signal is of very high priority for aviation, as well as unmanned aerial systems.