Software systems that enable unique drone applications have great potential – Chris Kucera, OneSky

Software systems that enable unique drone applications have great potential – Chris Kucera, OneSky

Chris Kucera is an employee of OneSky and the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the company. OneSky is a subsidiary of Analytical Graphics, Inc., an established software developer with a 28-year history supporting the aerospace community with proven software for planning and analysis of dynamic systems. Chris has been with the company for 15 years and started his career in Colorado Springs. Prior to AGI he worked for Booz Allen Hamilton as a consultant to NASA. He now lives and works in the DC area and has supported UTM development for over 4 years. Chris’ current focus is to guide the development of software products that predict the safety of flight for beyond visual line of site operations. Chris is an Aerospace Engineer from Virginia Tech. He’s also a commercially rated multi-engine pilot and flies a Beechcraft Bonanza from his home field in Fredericksburg Virginia. On Mar 20, he will speak about Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) at the Unmanned Cargo Aircraft Conference, the North Carolina Global TransPark, USA.

What drives you?

I’m in love with flying machines and driven to help integrate UAS into the airspace in a safe and efficient manner.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?

New aircraft concepts are being introduced at a rapid pace. These systems will all rely on software to operate. Software is the brains behind automation and will help derive value from our new flying machines. I think the greatest potential will be derived from software systems that enable unique drone applications. The biggest challenge is understanding the dynamic geospatial environment and performing analysis to help support the automation.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?

We already find increasing benefits from software assisted drones. We can fly drones remotely, capture high quality images and video and fly them in masses like Intel’s light show performances. We can perform specific functions, like roof inspections. We’ve come a long way from long copper wires connecting the drone to the controller. Software applications will unlock new drone potential from a common drone commodity.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?

Data sharing is the biggest barrier that I see to unlocking drone potential. Data is an asset that can be exploited. Data such as base stations owned by LTE companies can be used to predict C2 coverage areas, but is also held closely by LTE providers as competition sensitive information. As drones fly, they will become sensors that can develop rapidly evolving and realistic models of our operational environment. Will the owners of data be able to share the information? Are business models in place to motivate them to do so?

What do you hope people to learn from your presentation?

UTM is a software system that enables drones to fly in the airspace. It’s an automated system that can perform analysis of drone operations and predict risk to other aircraft or people on the ground. There are unique challenges that drones will have flying long distance, such as the coverage of command and control capabilities. This presentation will discuss the need for software capabilities that help manage drone flight and challenges we will face along the way.


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