GE opens new UAS subsidiary

GE is the latest company to throw its hat into the unmanned traffic management ring, opening a new service company to help governments and operators manage VTOL and drone air traffic.

The new company is AiRXOS. It will help government agencies, municipalities, regional aviation authorities and private- sector operators manage their UAS operations and incorporate them into national airspace.

AiRXOS will be headed up by Virginia Tech entrepreneur Kenneth Stewart. Mr Stewart previously held the title of entrepreneur-in-residence at GE’s venture-capital subsidiary GE Ventures.

Kenneth Stewart, general manager, AiRXOS said: “These transformative, collaborative efforts between states, industry and government will be the foundation for realizing the power of advanced UAS operations.

“GE already has been using drones and drone technology for some time. What AiRXOS offers is the infrastructure and advanced operations necessary to unlock the emerging markets of autonomous flight. We look forward to working closely with our Ohio, New York, San Diego, Memphis, and Choctaw Nation partners on realizing the potential of the UAV vision.”

This announcement comes just a day after Kitty Hawk said it was partnering with Boeing to develop its own UAS traffic-management system.

FAA’s integration pilot program

Last month, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the UAS Integration pilot programme (UASIPP). The programme is designed to help the US Department of Transportation and FAA to establish new rules and regulations to allow more UAS operations at low-altitudes.

AiRXOS has been selected as a UASIPP partner to help develop a UAS air-traffic infrastructure for three cities: San Diego, Memphis and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Alongside the AiRXOS announcement, the Ohio Department of Transportation has invested $5.9 million into unmanned-traffic research both for ground and air vehicles. AiRXOS has been selected by the cities’ UAS centre as a partner to help develop a ‘smart mobility corridor’ across the cities.

The corridor will be a 35-mile stretch between Dublin and East Liberty for UAS operators to fly aircraft. The Department of Transport will monitor and collect data on the route’s activity to help develop a future citywide unmanned traffic-management system.