India launched its first indigenous drone traffic management system in February 2023. The system is Skye UTM, developed by Skye Air Mobility. Skye Air Mobility is a leading drone delivery company in India. It has been streamlining drone delivery services in multiple logistics solutions, including e-commerce, Agri-commodity, quick commerce, healthcare, etc. UTM, which stands for Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) System, is unique in several ways. The system was initially conceived to reduce turn-around time (TAT) for Skye Air Mobility’s consumers and clients.
Due to some of its unique features and capabilities, UTM is expected to change the drone playground in India. The government of India is already planning to deploy the technology for real-time monitoring of infrastructure, construction, and highway development projects. The technology may also track road accidents and monitor highway safety. India’s drone industry is fast growing with its wide adoption in sectors like real estate, healthcare, construction, transport, surveying, defense, construction, and infrastructure. Although drone delivery services have risen in recent years, one crucial thing lacking is an effective and safe drone traffic management system. UTM has filled this gap and is set to propel the drone industry to new heights. Let us learn more about UTM and its features.
What is UTM?
Skye UTM is a cloud-based aerial traffic management system. It is the first and only unmanned traffic management system in India. It connects unmanned air traffic with manned aviation airspace. While a typical air traffic control tower can only manage 120 flights per hour and 1200 flights a day, UTM is highly capable and can contain a maximum of 4000 and 96,000 flights per hour. The system already supports 300+ BVLOS (Beyond Visual Light of Sight) drones. There are more than 1 million active drones in India. Skye UTMs eyes to be a one-stop traffic management solution for them.
Features of UTM
UTM is a state-of-the-art drone traffic management system. Many of its features are unique and groundbreaking. Some of the salient features of Skye UTM are the following.
- UTM is a cloud-based software/system that can manage up to 4000 drone flights per hour from a tower. This is a highly capable system compared to conventional air traffic management systems.
- UTM is focused on providing situational awareness to drone pilots, regulators, and controllers. The system captures more than 255 UAV movement parameters stored in a black box. The parameters are published in real-time, enabling real-time drone monitoring. More than 255 parameters have been selected so that they can elaborate a systematic description of the entire flight.
- The system effectively stitches unmanned air traffic with a manned aerial traffic management system. The platform integrates with air navigation service providers, heli-drones, and other manned aviation systems to maintain the integrity and coordination of air space.
- UTM establishes real-time digital communication between drones and air traffic regulators. The platform provides a three-dimensional view of the drone airspace along with operation and regulation mapping servers. This allows real-time monitoring of UAV movements, airspace status updates, and path verification.
- The platform can communicate with all types of drones ranging from surveying and delivery drones to air taxis. Users of all kinds can access the platform and its features using pop-up UTM, which has the most accessible and simplistic interface.
- The platform can connect with any model of drone. It has a highly detailed pre and post-flight reporting system that can communicate with any drone model.
- UTM divides the drone airspace into distinct zones, each one of the zones reserved for deliveries, high-speed operations, large drones, and passenger aircraft (aerial taxis). The drone operations in each zone are separately optimized according to the UAV requirements.
- The biggest USP of UTM is the Skye Tunnel. It is a proprietary tunnel-based navigation feature enabling a high level of automation in drone navigation. The tunneling ensures that there are no blank spots and that the tunnel through drone airspace is connected end to end without breaking. The feature has been developed considering the future traffic management of aerial taxis in Indian cities.
How important is UTM?
UTM is a big milestone for the drone industry in India. Skye Air Mobility is soon about to launch UTM globally. It already has significant market potential within India. More than a million active drones are in the country, and the number of drone startups has just started rising. The drone industry has much potential in a country as large as India. The UTM is the first and only drone traffic management system in India. The system will be provided as a cloud-based service called ‘UTM-as-a-service’ by Skye Air Mobility. It will definitely be a game-changer.
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