Commercial Drones PilotsXwing and Inmarsat to Partner to Create the World’s Most Effective Command and Control Solution for Autonomous Aviation

October 7, 2021by helo-10
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Xwing, the company pioneering autonomy for aviation, today announces it has signed a memorandum of understanding for a proposed development partnership with Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications. The two companies intend to work together to create a dedicated terminal offering and associated services for autonomous aircraft, utilizing the newly announced Inmarsat Velaris UAV connectivity solution.


Having recently announced its latest $40M funding round, $400M valuation, and completion of the world’s first autonomous gate-to-gate flight of a commercial cargo aircraft, Xwing enters the partnership as a leader in autonomous flight technology. The company allows for converting traditionally crewed aircraft into remotely piloted or autonomous planes to accelerate the introduction of autonomous technology in the airspace. Xwing plans to lead aircraft infrastructure, integration, testing and certification, and provide detailed knowledge on the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) required in air cargo processes.


“Working with Inmarsat to develop a pioneer command and control solution for the future of flight has been an incredible and rewarding opportunity for our team,” said Marc Piette, CEO and founder at Xwing. “As we inch closer to a future of widespread unmanned flight, it is more important than ever to develop the technology solutions needed to keep autonomous aircraft safe and efficient. Together with Inmarsat, we look forward to helping shape that future.”


Inmarsat brings world-class hardware design, testing and certification to the partnership. Leveraging its decades of aviation industry experience, the company will develop the unmanned aviation communications solutions utilized in the next generation of aircraft.


“There’s no denying that the future of flight is autonomous,” said Anthony Spouncer, Senior Director of UAVs and Unmanned Traffic at Inmarsat. “That’s why we’re delighted to be working with Xwing to develop the solutions necessary to ensure every unmanned journey is a safe one. With our innovative new Velaris UAV solution, secure hardware and airtime, unmanned aircraft will be better equipped to share the information needed by ground control and other aircraft, to integrate into commercial airspace, and to make fast and accurate decisions.”


The partnership begins as shortages throughout the aviation industry, including a pilot shortage, encourage autonomous aircraft and software development for both cargo and commercial flight. With estimates projecting a return to 2019 travel demand by 2025, there’s an expected global gap of at least 34,000 and up to 50,000 pilots within the commercial sector alone. Simultaneously, eCommerce demand continues to rise, recording a 32.4% increase in 2020 and therefore uncovering the need for autonomous cargo solutions at scale.


Xwing is already working with major logistics companies to complete deliveries, most recently focusing on urgent and impact-led regional shipments during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, Xwing delivered PPE, school supplies, and doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the Navajo Nation Reservation. Currently, the company is working closely with the FAA for certification to bring its technology to the market.


Simultaneously, Inmarsat is uniquely positioned to act as a catalyst for the safe and rapid growth of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) industry. Its ground-breaking Velaris offering, powered by the Inmarsat ELERA global satellite network, will bring integration of commercial drones into managed airspace and facilitate the market’s rapid growth, driving advances from cargo delivery and urban transport to emergency services and disaster relief. The service will unlock new benefits across various aspects of business and society, while reducing the overall cost of operations and supporting the transport of people and goods in an environmentally friendly manner.


About Xwing


Xwing is the first company to introduce autonomous technology for regional air cargo. With the goal of meeting growing unmet logistics demand, Xwing’s human-operated software stack seamlessly integrates with existing aircraft to enable regional pilotless flight. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. To learn more, please visit xwing.com. For media inquiries, email [email protected].


For more information on Xwing, visit https://xwing.com/. 


About Inmarsat


Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.


The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite telecommunications networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for more than 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.


Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government, Aviation and Enterprise satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high-quality partner to its customers across the globe.


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