Leading uncrewed aerial vehicle ((UAV) flight management service provider Aloft has given its airspace awareness application a major update. Now, users of the B4UFLY app can anonymously provide basic information – particularly location – about their drone flights to other pilots in the world’s increasingly crowded airspaces
B4UFLY’s situational awareness extends to individual drone pilot location
Aloft says it has added the Notify & Fly function to its popular B4UFLY app, allowing drone pilots to inform each other about their flight locations. By agreeing to do so, operators can anonymously enhance awareness of craft in operation for everyone sharing the same airspace, and thereby lower risks of potential collisions. The new capacity extends B4FLY’s existing feature providing all significant information and restrictions in spots where pilots are preparing for or flying missions.
In the new version, B4UFLY still locates users on a map, and provides information on airspace restrictions or other potential problems they’ll need to be aware of. It also acts as an interface for Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability requests for pilots positioned in a restricted area. With Notify & Fly, it takes that situational awareness down to the individual UAV level.
Once operators access the feature, Notify & Fly allows them to define the nature of their mission – recreational, commercial, governmental, or first responder – as well as provide general overview information like duration and maximum altitude.
Taking situational awareness down to single UAV level
From there, a window displays updated data on the flight status and evolving information in the surrounding area. Meanwhile, the app will overlay information coming from other pilots in the zone to allow everyone to know where others are, but without compromising the privacy of anyone involved. All anyone knows is where the UAV, and what its flight plans are.
“Time and again, we’ve seen a huge unmet need among the vast majority of safety conscious drone pilots to proactively communicate their intentions on behalf of a safer airspace,” Aloft explained in a press release. “Notify & Fly is a major step forward to solving this problem.”
Since releasing B4UFLY in August, 2019, Aloft says, the app has been used in 13 million airspace searches, and currently processes 800,000 of those each month. In addition, it says it now receives thousands of crowdsourced submissions a month, roughly half which are from pilots seeking to communicate flight plans.
“Whether you’re a hobbyist, a commercial pilot or saving lives as a first responder,” the release says, “using Notify & Fly contributes to the overall safe integration of drones into the national airspace by increasing situational awareness, without sacrificing privacy.”