Drone airspace authorization program, LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability), is gradually being rolled out across the United States, with private enterprises working with the FAA to provide authorization to enterprise UAV operators.
The latest companies to join the FAA are Kittyhawk and Jeppesen.
Combined Expertise to Provide Low Altitude Authorization
Jeppesen, a Boeing subsidiary, has collaborated with drone software company Kittyhawk to work with the FAA to provide almost real-time authorization to enterprise drone users. The companies will be able to combine their technologies and expertise to allow for real time tracking and coordination with commercial drones that are operating within controlled airspace.
Enterprise drone operators will benefit from a more streamlined service that will allow access to airspace previously not available to drones.
Jeppesen’s parent company, Boeing, was part of a beta trial for the LAANC initiative. The company will use learnings from that trial to implement an authorization process that is streamlined and easy to use.
What is Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC)?
The FAA developed LAANC to provide a better system of tracking commercial drones and allowing them access to shared and potentially hazardous airspace.
The initiative will allow eligible drones to enter airspace around airports, with the authorization provided in near real time. Many in the industry are comparing LAANC to the air traffic control system used for commercial airliners and private aircraft, and this is currently the most accurate comparison.
The initiative will make commercial drone flights safer and more transparent. It could also allow for new opportunities in business, as drones will now be able to fly directly to and from sorting warehouses and cargo facilities that are on the ground underneath controlled airspace. The logistics industry will undoubtedly benefit from LAANC.
Earlier this year, the FAA invited private companies to partner with them and provide the technology and systems that would allow for LAANC authorization. Boeing (through Jeppesen) and Kittyhawk are among just a handful of companies that are already working with the FAA. Boeing already has a significant head start, thanks to their inclusion in the beta trial.
Largely automated systems will reduce the resource and financial cost of controlling drone traffic within commercial airspace. The FAA hopes to open up more than 2,000 square miles of controlled airspace around populated areas and airports in the near future.
META: Boeing Subsidiary Jeppesen and software company Kittyhawk are the latest firms to partner with the FAA to provide LAANC drone authorizations.