GE's AiRXOS System Aims to Manage Unmanned Drone Fleets

GE launched a new subsidiary yesterday aimed at developing an all-encompassing unmanned traffic management system for both ground and aerial vehicles.

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GE launched a new company called AiRXOS yesterday, which aims to develop “next generation unmanned traffic management” for large fleets of drones. With an abundance of unmanned aerial vehicles in the sky, developing the requisite software to properly coordinate and manage that traffic above our heads is of paramount importance, an effort companies like Google, NASA, and Boeing are in the midst of undertaking as well.

AiRXOS will focus on creating its in-house system for government agencies first, with the commercial drone industry and aviation experts following closely behind. “AiRXOS helps government agencies, regional aviation authorities, and private sector operators manage and meet the increasing demand for sophisticated and safe Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations,” said the company in a press release.

We recently reported on NASA completing the Technical Capabilities Level 3 phase of its Unmanned Traffic Management project, with AiRXOS’ press release confirming it’s a partner in that effort, having recently applied to help bring that nascent air traffic management system to the industry at large, regardless of who AiRXOS may have to partner with.

“AiRXOS is addressing the rapid changes in autonomous vehicle technology, advanced operations, and in the regulatory environment,” said Alan Caslavka, president of Avionics at GE Aviation. “We’re excited for AiRXOS to help set the standard for autonomous and manned aerial vehicles to share the sky safely.”

The new GE subsidiary also announced that DriveOhio’s UAS Center invested $5.9 million for AiRXOS’ unmanned traffic management research and development efforts, which are comprised of both air and ground vehicles. Currently, the plan is to fit 35 miles of U.S. Interstate 33 between Dublin and East Liberty in Ohio with sensors that can transmit UAS tracking and detection data to the Department of Transportation’s Traffic Management Center, to prepare for future package deliveries or passenger drone traffic. 

Clearly, these entities are optimistic, excited, and prepared for a future of autonomous vehicle proliferation. With corporations as large as GE starting a whole new company to exclusively focus on management systems, and partnering with NASA on the requisite testing phases to do so, things are looking pretty bright—and subsidized—for the autonomous vehicle industry in the U.S.