When it comes to developing successful partnerships, AiRXOS is not new to the game. They have joined forces with heavy hitters like NASA, the FAA, ANRA Technologies, and NUAIR to work on finding solutions to challenges facing today’s industry. In a continuation of this legacy, AiRXOS recently announced in a press release 11 new partnerships with different companies all across the UAS space. Seeing partners like AeroVironment, AIRT, DeTect, Syniverse, and the New York UAS Test Site, laid out in one document paints a powerful picture of the UAS ecosystem AiRXOS is bringing together and what efforts like this can mean for the industry.
“Our goal has always been to move this industry toward a faster adoption of advanced UAS operations, like Beyond Visual Line of Sight and one pilot to many UAS, or 1-to-many,” stated Kenneth Stewart, CEO of AiRXOS, when asked about his philosophy about developing partnerships. “What we realized is that this emerging industry is still quite fragmented and not everyone has the full solution. For example, we have the USS platform to provide users with waivers and exemptions for advanced operations, but we don’t fly or do analytics as a company, so we need drone service providers and software companies that develop analytics to bring that value to our company. In order to bring an end-to-end solution together, it really takes an industry—a group of players to build a complete ecosystem.”
Building that complete ecosystem is something Stewart is working to facilitate by fostering these strategic partnerships, but he also sees this approach as the beginning steps toward developing a fully functioning UTM. By developing end-to-end solutions within specific industries and then feeding those solutions into larger regulatory USS providers like LAANC, and eventually Remote ID, to enable advanced operations, he sees this evolving into an organic UTM system.
“When you can create an environment where you can foster advanced operations, and then peer the providers of those services, you get a UTM evolving from that, even under the current regulatory environment,” Stewart explained. “We certainly need some changes. I think we are all working in the same direction on that, but you can begin to see a UTM evolving from those providers who are already providing those services to their end customers today.”
As the industry works with regulatory agencies on key pieces of regulations, like the recent NPRM on Remote ID, it is exactly this kind of “we can’t wait on others to make it happen, or for the regulatory environment to change, we have to make it happen now” attitude that is pushing businesses like AiRXOS at the forefront of their industries. According to Stewart, when asked about the value these efforts are providing today, he says it pays to get involved in finding and providing these solutions sooner rather than later.
“I think the work we are doing now is crucial for the future of the space. A nationwide UTM is probably some time off, but I think we are already starting to see benefits from the infrastructure that we’ve already tested and are providing a higher ROI to our customers,” stated Stewart. “The key is how do we do these types of operations just about anywhere and on-demand. I think all the work we are doing today is helping to create the criteria that will inform regulatory bodies, like the FAA, on how they can start enabling that ecosystem.”
AiRXOS is already seeing some of these efforts pay off in the regulatory space. Stewart went on to point out that they had been heavily engaged with the FAA on the development of the Remote ID ARC in 2017 and that he was happy to see that the FAA adopted some of the recommendations that came out of that committee, such as drones weighing over 250 grams should have a remote ID.
When talking to Stewart about AiRXOS’ objective with announcing these new partnerships, it was clear that working out these issues proactively with the end user in mind has multiple benefits that can pay out in the here and now, as well as in the future. It not only has the added benefit of establishing systems and use cases that inform regulatory bodies like the FAA about effective paths toward industry compliance, but it also provides end users with a system and workflow that has those regulations in mind from the beginning.
This is incredibly important for companies looking to maintain long-term relationships with their clients. Clients are not going to want to experience disruption to their workflows/ deliverable due to regulatory changes, especially if that disruption translates to additional time and money.
It is far easier to build with the future in mind, especially if what you end up building becomes part of that future.