Thales and Telstra have joined forces to combine their specialist work with a view to building an ecosystem for the management of low altitude airspace.
Both firms are hoping their expertise in the field will enable them to put together a robust, safe and secure network for both manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The companies have already worked together to prototype a data and communication solution to pave the way for the integration of manned and unmanned traffic in Australian skies.
Ultimately, their ambition is to create a robust digital communications network infrastructure to underpin the navigation and surveillance ecosystem needed to safely manage low altitude airspace.
Chris Jenkins, chief executive at Thales Australia said: “With the huge increase in drones in the airspace, flights per day will go from thousands to millions. The challenges are enormous, as are the opportunities.
“In Australia drone use will drive efficiency and financial benefits to a large proportion of Australian businesses. Thales is partnering with Telstra to contribute to the creation of a seamless sky where we help our customers integrate unmanned aircraft into controlled airspace as well as supporting drone users to perform their missions in an orderly, safe and timely manner.”
Head of technology at Telstra Labs, Andrew Scott, added how he thinks using 4G and 5G technology can help with the much needed integration work.
He said: “There are extraordinary opportunities for the widespread take-up of unmanned aerial vehicles in Australia. To unlock this potential, we are investigating how we can leverage our 4G and 5G technology and IoT capabilities to enable robust communications, navigation and monitoring of UAVs.”
Scott concluded: “The work we’ve been doing with Thales to build a prototype, which is underpinned by continuous investment in our networks, proves that it is possible for unmanned and manned aerial vehicles to collaborate effectively and safely.”