Garmin TIS and Audio Out feature licenses to be removed

The FLARM ecosystem has developed with unprecedented speed in the last few years. Not only have thousands of new FLARM installations been done in GA airplanes and helicopters, but several new PowerFLARM-based OEM FLARM devices have been released by various manufacturers. This has given us lots of knowledge about how the different products are used. In addition, different devices target different target groups (e.g. aircraft types). In these respects, we are continually evaluating our product offerings.

Based on this evaluation, we have decided to remove the Garmin TIS and Audio Out (AUD) feature licenses from our webshop. Both licenses have seen a rather low number of purchases and have come with some technical challenges.

The Garmin TIS functionality has generated an elevated number of support requests regarding compatibility with various 3rd party displays. It is also limited as it allows for a maximum of 8 intruders to be displayed concurrently, and many aspects of a full FLARM display are simply ignored (e.g. error states). Unfortunately, these limitations were not easy to understand by customers and installers.

The Audio Out license has seen a decline in sales when this functionality has been replaced by similar functionality in displays and integrated FLARM systems. In addition, due to upcoming certification requirements for FLARM in rotorcraft, audio warnings need to be more closely integrated with the specific aircraft systems and configuration, which is not possible with the current audio out implementation.

The Garmin TIS and Audio Out licenses will be removed from the webshop end of 2018. Purchases of these licenses will continue to be unrestricted until that time. Licenses that have once been purchased will continue to be functional without restriction. Devices purchased in 2018 or earlier will continue to remain eligible for the licenses. Please contact us in such cases.

These changes will have limited effect but will help us focus on the functions and features that have a high value for the users.

FLARM and uAvionix Collaborate to Create Electronic Conspicuity Solutions for Manned and Unmanned Aircraft

FLARM Technology and uAvionix today announced a partnership to collaborate on Electronic Conspicuity (EC) and Detect and Avoid (DAA) solutions for manned and unmanned aircraft. uAvionix specializes in ADS-B, Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) transponders, and GNSS position sources for manned and unmanned aircraft. FLARM specializes in situational awareness and active DAA solutions for General Aviation and unmanned aircraft. Both companies offer products for installation and portable use together with modern display systems such as Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications.

The companies plan to incorporate their respective technologies into one another’s products and to develop and sell interoperable solutions for these markets across the world. The companies also plan to collaborate on UAS remote identification standards and solutions. FLARM’s Open eID Standard, the first electronic identification standard published globally, is being trialled in Europe for DAA and remote identification purposes, a key enabler for UTM frameworks like U-Space. uAvionix’ DroneAware system is being tested as a component of the NASA UTM TCL3 demonstrations as well as three of the UAS Integration Pilot Programs in the US.

“As the airspace becomes more and more crowded, it is increasingly important to integrate existing electronic conspicuity solutions into interoperable platforms. ADS-B and FLARM are the two dominating GNSS-based solutions in use today” said Christian Ramsey, President uAvionix.

“Combining Detect and Avoid and remote ID solutions for both manned and unmanned traffic will enable the safe and efficient integration of all traffic in the same airspace and keep the responsibility where it should be: with the pilot,” said Daniel Hoffmann, General Manager FLARM Technology.

FLARM instrumental in many accident investigations

FLARM does not only save lives in the sky but has also been instrumental in many accident investigations. FLARM devices not only save the own flown track, but also the first and last received positions of other aircraft. The purpose of this is to enable range analyses of installations, but our forensic team can also use this information to assist with Search and Rescue (SAR) and to establish the flown track during an investigation. Often, data from several aircraft can be combined to establish the track flown, and/or where the aircraft crashed.

This article in Luzerner Zeitung (in German) published today explains how FLARM is currently supporting the Swiss Accident Investigation Board with establishing the final minutes of a Socata TB-10 accident on Saturday.

Commercial BVLOS Drone Service uses FLARM for Traffic Avoidance

Swiss Post, the Insel hospital group, and drone manufacturer Matternet have started a commercial BVLOS drone transport service in the Swiss capital city of Berne. The drones are connecting the Insel university hospital and Tiefenau hospital, located 4 km (2.5 miles) apart, carrying lab samples and urgently needed medication. The route is located entirely inside the controlled airspace around the city’s airport.

“When lab samples need to be transported as quickly as possible from A to B, every minute counts”, says Uwe E. Jocham, Insel’s CEO. The lab samples are currently transported by courier. For urgent cases, Insel uses a taxi.

All drones are equipped with our FLARM traffic information and collision warning system. Our technology is standard in most aircraft operating in European airspace and allows both manned and unmanned aircraft to see and stay well clear of each other at any time. In addition, it enables the drones to be identified and tracked at all times, a key requirement of U-Space for the safe and efficient integration of drones into airspace shared with manned aviation.

In the near future, Swiss Post together with medical laboratory Zentrallabor ZLZ and Matternet will start another commercial BVLOS drone transport service above Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city. The service will connect ZLZ’s main medical laboratory with the Hirslanden Im Park hospital. The routing crosses the lake of Zurich and is partially in uncontrolled airspace.

The Swiss Civil Aviation Authority FOCA has been involved in the project, has inspected the drone and its safety components, defined the legal conditions for flying it, and granted approval for the flights in Berne and Zurich.

FlarmNet is undergoing maintenance

FlarmNet, where pilots can register their FLARM devices to be identifiable by other pilots, is currently undergoing maintenance. The improved FlarmNet will be released shortly.

New customer portal available

We have recently released the new and long-awaited customer portal. It can be found after logging in to flarm.com under “My Account”, which you can find at the top of the page. The customer portal will be your centerpoint for all things FLARM related. If you have recently e.g. updated your obstacle database, you might have noticed that you no longer receive an email with the files. Instead, license files are downloaded directly from the Order Completed page and are also made accessible from the customer portal.

Under the new tab “Devices” under “My Account”, you can find all devices, for which you have previously purchased a feature license (including an obstacle database). Licenses for a device are only shown for the user that purchased the license. If a license for your device was purchased by a dealer/installer, you will not see the license.

You can download purchased license files by clicking the links in the right column. If you don’t have the latest obstacle database for a certain device, there is a link to add it to the cart. If the device has never had an obstacle database, a link will instead take you to the webshop.

New devices are added to this list as soon as you purchase a license. Devices can also be added manually by clicking the “Add device” button at the bottom of the page.

Under the “Orders” tab you can see a list of all your orders. We have added a button for each order, with which you can download a ZIP file with all licenses for that order.

One last new feature: On the product pages in the webshop, you can now select a device that you own, so you don’t have to enter the data manually. This is especially useful if you purchase several licenses for one device, or if you have several devices from which you want to purchase the obstacle database update. The list does not show devices for which you already own the license in question (or it’s already in the car).

We will continuously improve the customer portal and add new features.

Open FLARM UAS eID Standard published

Upcoming regulations will require unmanned aerial systems (UAS, drones) to have remote electronic identification (eID) and tracking capabilities. The UAS thereby broadcasts a unique identifier along with its position by means of radio, enabling detection, identification, and tracking of the vehicle. Reliable identification is an essential element of airspace and traffic management, and thus a key pillar in U-space foundation services. The benefits include added security, higher safety standards, increased accountability, and easier access to airspace.

The open FLARM UAS eID standard (download) builds on the proven FLARM protocol with over 35.000 installations in manned aircraft worldwide. Based on vehicle-to-vehicle radio technology, it offers unparalleled scalability while not requiring any infrastructure or expensive cellular modems. Secure signatures based on public-key cryptography offer a significant advantage over other proposals. The standard implements key requirements of the EASA, FAA and national regulations drafts. It is designed to be simple to implement, cheap to build, easy to test, free of licenses. Manufacturers can use existing radio hardware, or inexpensively add the required COTS hardware to start using the standard.

For fast time-to-market, we offer development kits specifically for UAS as well as a reference design for eID. Contact us for details.

About Drones

While commercial applications for drones are on the rise, most drones today are small and operate in the close vicinity of the human pilot and under direct line of sight. They are restricted to flying low and well clear of airports, urban areas, and airspace used by manned traffic. Future commercial applications will require large-scale operation in shared airspace, well beyond (visual) line of sight. UAV systems will be highly automated with minimal interaction by human operators. The vehicles will be larger, faster, heavier, and more intelligent, with the capability to resolve complex situations autonomously.

Business models, technology, and regulation all have to evolve under significant pressure. At the same time, traditional airspace users and the general public have significant interests to be taken into account: Safety in the air and on the ground, security and resilience to malicious intents, full accountability for all users of airspace, and affordability by means of a thriving, competitive ecosystem.

For these conflicting interests to meet, UAS will have to fulfil even stricter standards than we have in manned aviation. Reliable detect-and-avoid is a core technology needed for autonomous UAS operation. Human pilots are not capable of visually identifying even a UAV of reasonable size, thus the latter has to give way, always.

About FLARM

The FLARM system was invented by active pilots and launched through a crowd-funding campaign in 2004. It has since gained fast acceptance and high penetration in the entire aeronautical community and is known as a safe, efficient and affordable technology. Today, a broad range of solutions for manned and unmanned aviation is available. Solutions include electronic conspicuity, secure e-identification, traffic sensors, multi-sensor fusion, autonomous detect-and-avoid, ground tracking infrastructure and services, data uplink, IFF, and air risk assessment consultancy.

Our technology is used in many manned aircraft and rotorcraft, and works anytime, anywhere and independent of infrastructure. FLARM is the most popular cooperative traffic avoidance solution in the lower airspace. In Europe, over half of all registered aircraft have a combined FLARM OUT (transmit) and IN (receive) product onboard. FLARM offers the smallest integrated transceiver for aviation, native deconfliction for all traffic sources, thus enabling cost-effective collision avoidance.

Find drone-specific products here.

 

MicroPilot and FLARM’s Autonomous Sense & Avoid System

MicroPilot has successfully integrated FLARM’s Sense and Avoid system with its autopilot, granting clients a reliable autonomous collision avoidance option for fully autonomous UAV operations.

With any form of autonomous vehicle, a key concern is the ability to safely avoid collisions without human intervention. A sense and avoid system allows a UAV to do exactly that, dramatically reducing operational risks and the need for human monitoring. FLARM is a traffic awareness and collision avoidance technology used by manned aircraft and UAVs. When integrated with MicroPilot’s autopilot, the system alerts the autopilot of nearby aircraft, along with their velocity, altitude and future trajectory. Using this information, the autopilot decides how to avoid the other aircraft, autonomously preventing a collision without a single input from a human operator.

With airspace becoming increasingly crowded and UAVs becoming more popular, a reliable sense and avoid system isn’t going to be merely convenient, but a necessity, especially for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and other autonomous operations. This new system should give operators the confidence to use their UAVs to the full extent of their abilities.

“FLARM has been in use for over a decade helping manned aircraft avoid midair collisions,” says FLARM “We are very happy to see that UAVs are the next type of vehicle that benefit from FLARM, and that UAVs are becoming visible to manned aircraft.” With the MicroPilot autopilot combined with FLARM’s advanced sense and avoid system, UAV designers will be better able to market their larger and longer-range UAVs with a reliable autonomous system of collision avoidance, and operators will likewise feel more comfortable conducting long range BVLOS operations where human intervention is more difficult. Combined, this will further the utility and viability of UAVs and bring them much closer to their full potential.