Volatus Aerospace, a provider in commercial crewed and uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) solutions, has selected Inmarsat’ Velaris solution to expand its customer offerings in key sectors, including inspection, compliance, equipment distribution, public safety, and drone cargo delivery.
With Inmarsat satellite connectivity combined with LTE as a multilink capability, Volatus and its customers can expand business operations to fly longer distances beyond visual line of sight and increase return on investment exponentially across existing UAV services.
The two companies will work closely to integrate Velaris’ satellite connectivity for both small remotely piloted aircraft (UAS/UAVs) and larger crewed commercial aircraft. This will allow remote operators to monitor, control and secure their flights safely in any environment. The companies will also develop best practice operations in pursuit of a truly integrated airspace.
Volatus offers a range of crewed and uncrewed vehicle solutions and services across urban and rural environments, including in areas where traditional connectivity, such as cellular, is not reliable. Even in urban environments, signal shadows (called ‘urban canyons’) can still affect connectivity, particularly in dense cities with many high-rise buildings. In order to introduce semi-autonomous crewed and remotely piloted UAVs into the national airspace, reliable connectivity is required at all times to protect operators in the sky, as well as people and property on the ground.
To combat the challenge of patchy connectivity and allow Volatus to keep pace with customer needs, it sought a satellite connectivity partner whose network enables consistent, resilient connectivity in all environments. The solution, powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning ELERA satellite network, means Volatus can offer customers robust multilink connectivity during first responder (Drone as a First Responder) and long-distance beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) remote missions.
During missions where there is spotty, weak or no cellular connection, Inmarsat’s robust satellite connectivity will act as the primary command and control (C2) communication datalink to mitigate terrestrial connectivity challenges, for example congestion, signal shadows, and high altitude operations.
Velaris provides secure communications for commercial UAVs to fly BVLOS and seamlessly integrate with aircraft in commercial airspace. It allows operators to securely send their UAVs on long distance flights and access a variety of value-added applications, such as real-time tracking and remote operation, to ensure safe integration in managed airspace.
Volatus will use Inmarsat’s compact and lightweight micro satcom terminal to address real-world challenges – for example middle-mile cargo delivery and supply chain logistics – by integrating autonomous drone solutions into operational airspace.
Joel Klooster, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat, said “It is an incredibly exciting time in the UAV sector. With Volatus, we will bring new innovations to market by harnessing the unique advantages of our Velaris UAV service.”
Safe and resilient
“The number of uncrewed vehicles in our airspace is expected to increase tenfold in the next decade, so having safe and resilient communication solutions ready for customers will be crucial. Volatus is set to be one of the first partners to take advantage of our micro-terminal. That will be a major step forward in the innovations it can offer customers.”
Dean Attridge, Vice President of Solutions Engineering at Volatus Aerospace, said “Joining the Velaris Partner Network will, no doubt, see the development of several new product areas in the coming months, while Inmarsat’s renowned regulatory expertise will help support our advancements in semi-autonomous crewed and autonomous uncrewed aviation safety.”
“Together, we can create solutions that offer growth for our customer base, while ensuring every new offering has safety front of mind. Ultimately, our goal is to increase safety and performance facilitating more aircraft missions and offer more BVLOS solutions – and our partnership with Inmarsat will be integral to achieving this.”