Monday, May 29, 2023

Altitude Angel overhauls UK drone flight planning app Drone Help

United Kingdom-based drone pilots seemingly observed a significant replace to their iOS and Android gadgets this week in the event that they already had Altitude Angel’s Drone Help flight planning app obtain. And in the event that they didn’t have already got it downloaded, now would possibly lastly me the time to do it.

Altitude Angel, which is predicated in Studying, United Kingdom and offers a spread of airspace administration knowledge and providers for drone producers, builders and airspace stakeholders introduced this month plans to consolidate all of its current apps into one, single, Drone Help app. It’s a transfer that brings app improvement again in-house and can — in idea — place the app to be larger and higher than ever.

This week, the corporate relaunched its Drone Help flight planning app with a collection of options set to reinforce the consumer expertise and so as to add a extra strong set of industry-ready flight planning instruments. Among the many new enhancements features a direct connection to Altitude Angel’s UTM platform, providing ‘one-tap flight authorizations at linked airports and amenities not simply throughout the UK, however worldwide. 

And now that it’s being positioned as Altitude Angel’s flagship (and solely) app, it’ll function an necessary preliminary gateway to a complete host of U-Area providers supplied by Altitude Angel and operated by its clients. Over the approaching months, this new Drone Help will exchange all the corporate’s current apps.

Drone Assist App Altitude Angel
A view of the newly-relaunched Drone Help app from Altitude Angel. Photograph courtesy of Altitude Angel.

The brand new model of Drone Help, started rolling out this week on each iOS and Android, and the corporate mentioned it considers this to be essentially the most in depth replace for the reason that app was first launched in 2016. Altitude Angel says the updates make the app extra user-friendly and intuitive for novice pilots, while offering a number of business-critical providers for extra skilled {and professional} operators. Among the many updates within the new Drone Help app:

  • Enhanced built-in flight planning.
  • Superior flight plan drawing instruments.
  • Improved approval providers together with the power to make use of the app to request entry to fly digitally in airspace corresponding to an airport FRZ, or land with entry restrictions.
  • New map layers together with satellite tv for pc view.
  • Enhanced airspace filter controls.
  • Refreshed consumer expertise and consumer interface.

Briefly, count on enhanced flight planning options throughout. For instance, Drone Help now permits customers to plan their flight, detailing precisely the place they’ll be flying utilizing the superior drawing instruments through both polygons or waypoints. They will then submit the flight plan to the app which is displayed not solely on the app for all to see, however throughout all of Altitude Angel’s UTM platforms, together with these utilized by airports and GA pilots – making different airspace customers (even when they’re not Altitude Angel clients) conscious of their presence.

Along with enhanced built-in flight planning & drawing instruments, Drone Help additionally contains new ‘pilot profiles’ and plane administration, which offers customers with the power to log drone operator profiles, hours flown, and airframe hours used.  These options may assist skilled drone operators higher handle operations and airframe service intervals.

In case you actually need to geek out about what’s within the new Drone Help app, Sean Hickey of the Geeksvana YouTube channel put collectively a 10-minute video explaining all of it:

What’s Drone Help like right this moment?

On the whole, Drone Help is taken into account the highest flight planning app for skilled and leisure pilots throughout the UK. However that doesn’t imply it’s an ideal app. It’s been a bit — as Hickey calls it — “creaky.” In actual fact, the present Drone Help UK app has a tough 3.7 out of 5 stars on the Google Play retailer, and an much more brutal 2.3 out of 5 stars on the Apple App retailer, all throughout a whole bunch of evaluations.

Presently, it appears as if the app has potential however simply doesn’t execute. As one reviewer put it, “the street to hell is paved with good intentions.” Different readers cite that it’s arduous to even simply login and get setup and complicated buttons when you’re in.

With the brand new Drone Help app, that may change. Anticipate it to consolidate options that had existed in what was beforehand a small household of apps.

For instance, Altitude Angel additionally had two different apps, FlySafe and Guardian. Guardian was a free app that used your location to show close by no-fly zones and floor hazards (in addition to these in a rising variety of nations world wide). Coverdrone FlySafe was a companion utility for current clients of Altitude Angel-partner Coverdrone to offer quick entry to important drone security knowledge while on the transfer.

Forward of this week’s new rollout, Altitude Angel mentioned it had been operating a beta testing program with greater than 400 lively contributors who offered suggestions which was integrated into the app’s design and construct.

And despite the fact that the app bought a mega replace this week, the corporate says this week’s replace is simply the primary in a collection of deliberate enhancements and new options within the quick pipeline.

What’s Altitude Angel?

Drone Help is now the flagship app of Altitude Angel, which was based in 2014 and builds UTM (Unified Site visitors Administration) software program, designed to assist drone pilots as they function or develop UTM/U-Area options, permitting them to shortly combine strong knowledge and providers with minimal effort.

Altitude Angel additionally has an open developer platform.

Altitude Angel can be main a consortium of companies to construct and develop 165 miles (265km) of ‘drone superhighways’ connecting airspace above Studying, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby over the following two years. That Skyway superhighway community venture, which was introduced in March 2022, makes use of Altitude Angel’s patented ARROW know-how. That’s just like the well-known drone hall in New York, although this one higher democratizes BVLOS drone operations. Altitude Angel says that any drone firm — so long as it completes a collection of primary technical integrations (which don’t truly even require specialist {hardware} on-board the drone, in addition) — is supported.

And finally, Altitude Angel says it intends to make its drone superhighway know-how obtainable for any group, airport, city, or metropolis looking for to determine their very own drone superhighways through a licensing settlement. 

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