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  • Writer's pictureSimon Golstein

Israel National Drone Initiative 16: drone-to-drone communication

Managing air traffic requires data. Gaps in the data chain equal blind spots, and it’s the things that you can’t see that can cause problems.


 So at last month’s round of the Israel National Drone Initiative, we filled one of the last gaps in the chain - drones that can detect other drones directly without relying on any additional infrastructure or third party system.



We executed thorough tests of Elsight’s Halo platform, a connectivity solution that combines multiple communication links to supply redundancies and ensure 99.8% uptime. The capability we were interested in though was something else - picking up Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from other drones.

 

Invented in the 1990s, Bluetooth is a wireless data transfer solution that has become a ubiquitous feature on our personal devices. Most people know it as a very short-range technology - but BLE has a surprisingly long range. This, coupled with the fact that it broadcasts directly without relying on telecommunications infrastructure, make it a perfect solution for drones to identify themselves from the air.

 

Vega receives these signals from broadcasting drones, and displays the drone ID and telemetry data via the dashboard. But when it comes to aviation safety, you can never have too many redundancies. We wanted to adopt technology that enables drones to pick up BLE broadcasts independently, even if they are not connected to Vega.

 

We flew a drone equipped with Elsight’s Halo solution, and another drone that broadcasted data via an external Remote ID device. At ranges of up to 500 meters, the first drone successfully picked up the other drone’s telemetry and ID data directly.

 

This capability will give Vega another source of data, as well as providing another redundancy for tactical deconfliction in unforeseen circumstances. Our first priority is always maintaining safety in the sky, and we’re proud to adopt technology that helps us achieve this.

 

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