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Aspen teams with drone companyAspen teams with drone company

Aspen Avionics and drone maker Sensurion Aerospace are teaming up to develop avionics for autonomous air taxis and other unmanned aircraft.

The two companies announced a partnership March 19 that will bring their combined resources and expertise to bear developing FAA-certified autopilots, communications, navigation, and surveillance systems for drones.

Aspen is well-known in the general aviation community for developing various products for certified aircraft. Sensurion has had a lower profile to date, though the company also has deep aviation roots, led by CEO Joe Burns, who was previously the managing director of flight operations technology and flight test at United Airlines, according to the company website. Sensurion has developed its own unmanned platforms, including a fixed-wing drone made for operations beyond-line-of-sight with a high degree of autonomy, and a tethered, multirotor platform.

Aspen President John Uczekaj said in a news release that the unmanned aircraft industry will benefit from the confluence of expertise: “Our consumers demand adaptability and a certifiable pedigree that can help get them to market quickly, operate with an extreme level of safety, and include innovative architectures that combine certified avionics with today’s flying drone service/IoT data platforms, and near future cargo movers and people haulers.” 

The partnership was announced soon after Kitty Hawk unveiled its design for an autonomous air taxi that is now in flight testing, one of several similar projects vying to create a new model of personal transportation. Growth in the commercial drone industry overall is predicated in large part on the development of technology that will allow more advanced operations.

“Our UAS customer’s return on investment calculations turn profitable most quickly when they can operate beyond visual line of sight. What they are asking for are proven systems that do not cost a fortune, meet governing authority standards, are able to evolve with the pace of global digitization, and most importantly offer a safer integration path into our airspace. Our roadmap is clear,” Burns said in the press release. “We are combining the talents, agility, and pedigree from two industry leaders, to bring UAS consumers what they want, with a value proposition that puts safe drone technology to work across many industries.”

Topics: Avionics, Technology, Unmanned Aircraft

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