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Higher, Farther and Safer: AURA Network Systems Enables Autonomous Aviation in Controlled Airspace

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

They say communication is key. This adage applies not only to life in general, but also to integrating uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) into the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS).

Over a decade ago, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) identified the need for UAS-specific aviation communications capabilities, and related policies, to enable routine commercial beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight in controlled airspace. Achieving this, they said, would require both allocated frequency spectrum for civil UAS Control and Non-Payload Communication (CNPC) links (those between the UAS and the pilot on the ground) and related minimum performance standards. These would, in turn, drive relevant UAS communication policies and guidance.

McLean, Virginia-based AURA (Advanced Ultra Reliable Aviation) Network Systems has been spearheading efforts to fulfill these needs. The company obtained the first Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license for FAA-compliant aviation spectrum to create dedicated communication channels for crewed and uncrewed aviation, including CNPC data and voice service. This enables communications between autonomous and traditional aviation on a specialized, reliable and secure private network. The company has also engaged in related policy and research and development (R&D) efforts. The goal: to unlock a wide range of BVLOS autonomous aviation operations in controlled airspace. To help advance that objective, AURA has just closed $75 million in funding, including investments from Fortress Investment Group, Mudrick Capital Management and Tracker Capital Management.

Topics: spectrum, command and control, AURA Networks, standards, licensed spectrum, testing, NASA

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