Key general aviation stakeholder Airline Owners and Pilots Association recognizes the need for active measures to reliably separate drones from manned aircraft, especially "non-cooperative" drones, and cites Drone Traffic's safety innovation. The article reported that "research has clearly demonstrated that small drones are exceedingly difficult to see from a cockpit" in its highlight of Drone Traffic's situational awareness system under development in partnership with Mosaic ATM and NASA. Read the AOPA feature article here.
ColoradoBiz magazine is the only statewide business magazine and website covering the companies, people, sales, marketing and manufacturing trends impacting the future of Colorado business. The magazine featured Drone Traffic in an article highlighting the company's partnership with NASA.
October 2, 2019 – "Call it Waze for drone traffic. When longtime pilot Rick Zelenka began to worry about drones during his flights out of Centennial Airport, the popular navigation app — which allows drivers to report route information, including car accidents and traffic jams — was what inspired his solution." Read the BusinessDen story here.
September 23, 2019 – Drone Traffic LLC, an aviation research and development start-up based in Denver, Colorado, announces the win of a government contract to create an airborne drone monitoring, reporting, and avoidance system for aircraft pilots. Drone Traffic and partner Mosaic ATM, Inc., which advances science and applications of current and future aviation-related operations, received a Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The market for small Unmanned Aircraft System products, popularly known as drones, is booming, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that 2.4 million drones have been sold in the United States. While most drones operate safely, the FAA continues to document over 100 unsafe drone operations per month, including airspace violations, near-collisions, and actual collisions.
Drone Traffic founder Rick Zelenka, a patent attorney, former NASA engineer and Boeing executive – in addition to an enthusiastic longtime pilot – recognized the need for an airborne real-time drone avoidance system and patented his solution. "To make the drone avoidance solution a reality, I contacted former colleagues at Mosaic ATM. I knew Mosaic ATM were experts in bringing aviation concepts to market and in bringing small business innovation grants to bear on that development," Zelenka said.
The product resembles popular car-driving apps that alert drivers to important traffic risks. The airborne drone avoidance system may acquire drone information from sources including airborne and ground-based radar, air traffic management databases, and pilot crowd-sourcing. The system enables pilots to report drone presence and transgressions, creating a pathway to a safer flight. A rich graphical user interface provides current flight status, future trajectory information, and safety-focused drone warning information embedded within 2D and 3D mapping displays. The product can be stand-alone or a supplement to applications within a pilot’s electronic flight bag.
Drone Traffic’s partner, Mosaic ATM, anticipates additional valuable applications of the science underlying the drone-warning product. "Mosaic ATM and Drone Traffic bring complementary technology and capabilities that will improve the safety of flight while enabling the integration of drones and other new entrant vehicles into the airspace. We are excited to have Drone Traffic as our partner for this project to support NASA in the next step of this important research and development," said Chris Brinton, President of Mosaic ATM.
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