ATM Modernization, Regulation, Unmanned

Aloft Offers Native LAANC Integrations for Enhanced Drone Operations

Aloft Technologies just announced a new set of developer tools that allow third parties to interface seamlessly with the Aloft platform for LAANC integrations, custom map layers, and more. (Photos: Aloft)

This week, Aloft Technologies unveiled a suite of developer tools designed to streamline interactions with their platform. This expands the possibilities for third-party integration, allowing developers to seamlessly incorporate Aloft’s LAANC, airspace, and fleet management capabilities into their own software. With a strong emphasis on safety, compliance, and efficiency, Aloft’s new offerings are poised to revolutionize the drone industry’s development and integration into the national airspace system (NAS).

Aloft has added native LAANC integrations to its growing array of airspace and fleet management developer solutions. Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), a system developed by the FAA in collaboration with private industry, takes center stage in Aloft’s latest release. 

LAANC ensures near real-time processing of airspace authorizations for drones flying below 400 feet in controlled airspace. It fosters the shared use of airspace, enhances safety, and helps operators adhere to FAA regulations. Aloft’s new tools provide FAA-approved developer partners with LAANC access, representing a significant stride towards streamlining airspace authorization and bolstering compliance, safety, and expanded market reach.

The Aloft platform powered more than 37,000 LAANC airspace requests for its users in September—making up more than 84% of the total LAANC requests received by the FAA that month. 

This week’s release includes a host of powerful developer tools such as fleet management and airspace APIs, along with map tile services. These tools enable third-party developers to connect and interact with Aloft’s secure data services, facilitating the visualization of airspace and other map data layers. Developers gain access to industry-leading capabilities that align with the surging demand for advanced drone technology solutions. The integration of these tools into existing systems promises increased efficiency, safety, and compliance across a range of drone operations.

Jon Hegranes, CEO and founder of Aloft, remarked on the announcement, saying, “The aviation landscape is evolving rapidly, and uncrewed aircraft systems are a fundamental part of that change. By providing developers with the tools to integrate seamlessly with the Aloft platform, we are enhancing the safety, compliance, and efficiency of the national airspace system.”

Aloft is an FAA-approved UAS Service Supplier (USS) for LAANC and holds an exclusive public-private partnership with the FAA to power B4UFLY. Aloft’s platform is utilized by enterprise and government customers worldwide to access innovative UTM and fleet management services for unmanned aircraft systems. 

In an interview with Avionics International, Hegranes explained that they have been considering how to create more capabilities to increase LAANC compliance rates. Aloft published findings last year that estimated LAANC authorization was provided for only 20 to 30% of drone flights taking place in controlled airspace.

“We now have the ability to enable other developers to use Aloft to get LAANC,” he told Avionics. “I would equate this checking out on a website using PayPal; you’re using a trusted party that has those sorts of capabilities. In this case, we have FAA approval. You start to be able to put your technology in a lot of different places.”

He added that it’s becoming more difficult and costly to be a USS, pointing to the recent announcement from AirMap that it is closing its UAS traffic management app after already shutting down its LAANC service. AirMap’s UTM app will not be available beyond late June.

“There are FAA audits and security requirements, besides just the technical application of providing this utility,” Hegranes noted. “No hardware manufacturers offer LAANC.” 

“Now, there’s a potential for different application providers, whether it’s software or hardware, to put LAANC right into their applications, and enable users in a much simpler fashion to get LAANC, because now the distribution of the technology can be (if all goes well) in so many other applications.”

“It’s a groundbreaking capability that I think is going to do a lot for safety and for compliance,” he added. “It is really a testament to all the work that we’re doing and the efforts of the FAA to say, ‘How do we keep improving the LAANC system to provide more capabilities?’ It’s never been done before, so this is pretty exciting.”

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