- Michael Anger
Does Cloud Computing enable Urban Air Mobility (UAM)?
The question on drone’s market is not anymore how many drones will fly tomorrow, but more realistically, how many thousands or millions of them will fly at the same time? UTM and U-Space providers are developing solutions that ensure separation between the large variety of drones and air taxis as well as its integration with manned aviation. A paramount for these coordinative tasks will always be the question: At which point in time will the drone be at which location and altitude in order to not collide with another drone. Hence the maximum utilization and strategic management of an airspace volume will always depend on the accuracy of the actual position and flight path predicted.
Consequently, flight trajectories must be calculated accurately and down to the last detail beforehand. Exact overflight times along a route, energy consumption and weather conditions expected are key indicators to strategically and dynamically deconflict from other traffic while ensuring a safe state of UAS operation. Why is this being a case for cloud computing? Imagine, a destination airport might request a drone to circle for another five minutes and the planned landing time is delayed accordingly. Then all the data must be recalculated in real-time as soon as this information is known. If we suppose the incoming drone has not enough energy to follow this request, something has to be done even before reaching the busy airport; this is tactical flight planning.
Calculations or rescheduling during the flight require maximum availability and must be completed within a few seconds. From our point of view cloud computing is the most promising technology able to cope with the challenge. The necessary computing resources can be retrieved from the cloud, up and downscale as required – a major advantage over proprietary hardware.
Unisphere uses managed services to benefit from the latest technologies without dealing with hardware considerations. Together with serverless services we built a scalable platform that can be accessed by API or quickly deployed as an on-premise installation.
The Unisphere Flight Management Platform is a software-based solution for flight planning and flight operation of drones and air taxis. Decision-making knowledge from commercial pilots is transferred into software algorithms. This enables operators and customers without detailed aeronautical knowledge to execute flights of unmanned systems safely and efficiently.