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Calm Seas and Smooth Surfing

Author: Steve Flood and Josh Flood

This is all in the future. But what about the future future? Almost all the projects described in the last article, bar one or two, are retrofits of existing vessels. They are the projects of specialist technologically advanced consortia. As the demand for autonomous shipping grips the maritime fleet owners, they will look to the shipyards to incorporate the sensors, controls and communications equipment in their newbuilds.

Larger fleet owners such as Maersk, COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd and MSC will be able to write exacting specifications when they approach a shipyard to build 5 or 10 autonomous vessels. Over 40% of the tonnage of trading vessels in the world consists of dry bulk carriers which are ideal for automisation, as are the 28% that are oil tankers and the 13% that are container ships. CSIC, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, STX and DSME shipyards will have the resources and be happy to comply with the requirements of the heavy hitters in the Merchant Navy.

Smaller fleet operators, say, with less than ten vessels, who order ships individually, will expect the shipyard to supply the automisation. The Korean and Singaporean yards already have smart ship projects underway, as do Mitsubishi in Japan. Yards in China, other yards in Japan and elsewhere will have to bring in expertise. Hyundai’s collaboration with Accenture to develop OceanLink is described as a ‘smart ship’ platform for the shipbuilding, shipping, and onshore-logistics sectors. Daewoo (DSME) shipyard has received Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register for its collaboration with Korean marine system experts, marineworks, who use KVH communication systems for its smart ship solution (DS4) for new container ships.

Without completely destroying the romance, it is possible to describe a merchant ship as a big box with a large engine driving the propeller. To look after the engine, there is an engine control room into which all the parameters of the engine and ancillary equipment are fed and where activities can be scheduled to keep everything running in a tickety-boo fashion. To keep the ship heading in the right direction, there is a bridge or navigation control room somewhere up high where the helmsman can see the horizon.

Experience with drones has suggested that there is no need for the pilot to sit at the sharp end of a plane but can operate his vehicle from the comfort of his armchair in Texas. In the same way, the chief engineer need not man the engine control room aboard his ship nor the skipper pace the bridge. The major difference between a drone and a cargo ship is the sheer volume of data. Even in the most basic of cargo ships there will be hundreds of sensors on the engines and ancillary equipment plus CCTV, fire alarms, gas detectors, stress measurements, safety systems etc. The bridge will be equally bedecked with data points and all these are connected by tens of miles of wiring.

Admittedly the vast majority of data travelling these wires does not need to be transmitted instantaneously to any remote control room. Warnings, alarms and requests for action do need to be addressed in short order and there are plenty of these, even in the most well-maintained and efficient of ships. It may be considered that artificial intelligence (AI) can sort through these and deal with the most routine. Technically competent engineers and seamen who have not only the knowledge and experience to understand the potential problems and understand the coding needed to deal with this, in AI, are relatively rare. For this reason alone, progress needs to be considerate and systems commissioned to deal with failure and not just to comply with rules and specifications.

Typically a smart ship system can be described as an array of modules each designed to do the job once done by seamen. The accumulated data derived from the observations, decisions and actions of these pseudo-cyber-seamen modules can amount to Terabytes per hour. If live-streaming CCTV is added, there is going to be a need for a large amount of communication capacity.

And then there is the problem of the communication infrastructure – Low Earth Orbit (LEO) arrays such as Iridium, OneWeb, LeoSat, O3b and Elon Musk’s Starlink promise the potential of significant data transfer. Indeed, Samsung published a paper in 2015 proposal suggesting the provision of a Zetabyte/month capacity which is equivalent to 200GB/month for 5 Billion users worldwide. The problem for such a proposal is underutilisation. Such satellites orbit the earth every two hours and, of that, spend about one third over populated areas where they are used fully.

Geostationary arrays, such as Inmarsat, Intelsat and Echostar, and Medium Earth orbit arrays such as Galileo, GPS and GLONASS are positioned for populous areas but also have spare time on their antennae. To fully utilise these arrays, there needs to be users around the globe and the oceans have a relative dearth of need.

A quick look at marine traffic (www.marinetraffic.com) on an unremarkable Sunday 21st July 2019 shows that there are over 200,000 marine vessels large enough to be fitted with an AIS tracker sailing the oceans blue. All of these are currently being tracked by satellite. Admittedly they don’t send a lot of data back home, just enough for tracking purposes. If they were all smart or smartish, then there is a need for a large data pipeline back to headquarters.

The serendipitous, or not so serendipitous, advancement of autonomous shipping and satellite communication has potentially many benefits – cheaper trade, safer ships (it is estimated that 75 to 96% of shipping accidents involve human error), less pollution, greater fuel efficiency – one research project by MUNIN (Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks) predicted savings of over $7m over a 25-year period per autonomous vessel in fuel consumption and crew supplies and salaries.

Of course, there are downsides, for instance, a large initial capital expenditure in technology, not only for the ship itself, but also of onshore operations to monitor fleet movements. There is also the danger that occurs during in any transition between current manned marine fleet and any unmanned vessel. A lack of crew will also make maintenance of moving parts incredibly difficult on long voyages and breakdowns could result in significant delays.

Something that is scantly regarded is the removal of benefit of international inter-reaction. Each of these ships will have crews of international origin. This is estimated at 1,647,500 seafarers, of which 774,000 are officers and 873,500 are ratings. China, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine are the five largest nationalities of all seafarers (officers and ratings). The Philippines is the biggest supplier of ratings, followed by China, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. While China is the biggest supplier of officers, followed by the Philippines, India, Indonesia and the Russian Federation. These crews rub along quite well generally, and as one who has spent some time at sea, the writer can state that one of the great pleasures of sea-time (and one of the great annoyances) is inter-reacting with all the foreign crew members and learning about their culture and cuisine.

However autonomous shipping is steaming over the horizon and it must be welcomed into port if our general prosperity is to increase. The really interesting time comes after autonomous shipping when AI takes over the logistics and trading, assessing cargo prices and starts re-routing ships to maximise profit.

For more information on Valour Consultancy’s maritime connectivity, digital applications, cybersecurity, autonomous maritime vessel and other maritime reports, please contact   info@valourconsultancy.com and “Maritime Research” in the subject line.

 

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4774|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Calm-Seas-and-Smooth-Sailing-1.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text] Author: Steve Flood and Josh Flood This is all in the future. But what about the future future? Almost all the projects described in the last article, bar one or two, are retrofits of existing vessels. They are the projects of specialist technologically advanced consortia. As the demand for autonomous shipping grips the maritime fleet owners, they will look to the shipyards to incorporate the sensors, controls and communications equipment in their newbuilds. Larger fleet owners such as Maersk, COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd and MSC will be able to write exacting specifications when they approach a shipyard to build 5 or 10 autonomous vessels. Over 40% of the tonnage of trading vessels in the world consists of dry bulk carriers which are ideal for automisation, as are the 28% that are oil tankers and the 13% that are container ships. CSIC, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, STX and DSME shipyards will have the resources and be happy to comply with the requirements of the heavy hitters in the Merchant Navy. Smaller fleet operators, say, with less than ten vessels, who order ships individually, will expect the shipyard to supply the automisation. The Korean and Singaporean yards already have smart ship projects underway, as do Mitsubishi in Japan. Yards in China, other yards in Japan and elsewhere will have to bring in expertise. Hyundai’s collaboration with Accenture to develop OceanLink is described as a ‘smart ship’ platform for the shipbuilding, shipping, and onshore-logistics sectors. Daewoo (DSME) shipyard has received Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register for its collaboration with Korean marine system experts, marineworks, who use KVH communication systems for its smart ship solution (DS4) for new container ships. Without completely destroying the romance, it is possible to describe a merchant ship as a big box with a large engine driving the propeller. To look after the engine, there is an engine control room into which all the parameters of the engine and ancillary equipment are fed and where activities can be scheduled to keep everything running in a tickety-boo fashion. To keep the ship heading in the right direction, there is a bridge or navigation control room somewhere up high where the helmsman can see the horizon. Experience with drones has suggested that there is no need for the pilot to sit at the sharp end of a plane but can operate his vehicle from the comfort of his armchair in Texas. In the same way, the chief engineer need not man the engine control room aboard his ship nor the skipper pace the bridge. The major difference between a drone and a cargo ship is the sheer volume of data. Even in the most basic of cargo ships there will be hundreds of sensors on the engines and ancillary equipment plus CCTV, fire alarms, gas detectors, stress measurements, safety systems etc. The bridge will be equally bedecked with data points and all these are connected by tens of miles of wiring. Admittedly the vast majority of data travelling these wires does not need to be transmitted instantaneously to any remote control room. Warnings, alarms and requests for action do need to be addressed in short order and there are plenty of these, even in the most well-maintained and efficient of ships. It may be considered that artificial intelligence (AI) can sort through these and deal with the most routine. Technically competent engineers and seamen who have not only the knowledge and experience to understand the potential problems and understand the coding needed to deal with this, in AI, are relatively rare. For this reason alone, progress needs to be considerate and systems commissioned to deal with failure and not just to comply with rules and specifications. Typically a smart ship system can be described as an array of modules each designed to do the job once done by seamen. The accumulated data derived from the observations, decisions and actions of these pseudo-cyber-seamen modules can amount to Terabytes per hour. If live-streaming CCTV is added, there is going to be a need for a large amount of communication capacity. And then there is the problem of the communication infrastructure – Low Earth Orbit (LEO) arrays such as Iridium, OneWeb, LeoSat, O3b and Elon Musk’s Starlink promise the potential of significant data transfer. Indeed, Samsung published a paper in 2015 proposal suggesting the provision of a Zetabyte/month capacity which is equivalent to 200GB/month for 5 Billion users worldwide. The problem for such a proposal is underutilisation. Such satellites orbit the earth every two hours and, of that, spend about one third over populated areas where they are used fully. Geostationary arrays, such as Inmarsat, Intelsat and Echostar, and Medium Earth orbit arrays such as Galileo, GPS and GLONASS are positioned for populous areas but also have spare time on their antennae. To fully utilise these arrays, there needs to be users around the globe and the oceans have a relative dearth of need. A quick look at marine traffic (www.marinetraffic.com) on an unremarkable Sunday 21st July 2019 shows that there are over 200,000 marine vessels large enough to be fitted with an AIS tracker sailing the oceans blue. All of these are currently being tracked by satellite. Admittedly they don’t send a lot of data back home, just enough for tracking purposes. If they were all smart or smartish, then there is a need for a large data pipeline back to headquarters. The serendipitous, or not so serendipitous, advancement of autonomous shipping and satellite communication has potentially many benefits – cheaper trade, safer ships (it is estimated that 75 to 96% of shipping accidents involve human error), less pollution, greater fuel efficiency – one research project by MUNIN (Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks) predicted savings of over $7m over a 25-year period per autonomous vessel in fuel consumption and crew supplies and salaries. Of course, there are downsides, for instance, a large initial capital expenditure in technology, not only for the ship itself, but also of onshore operations to monitor fleet movements. There is also the danger that occurs during in any transition between current manned marine fleet and any unmanned vessel. A lack of crew will also make maintenance of moving parts incredibly difficult on long voyages and breakdowns could result in significant delays. Something that is scantly regarded is the removal of benefit of international inter-reaction. Each of these ships will have crews of international origin. This is estimated at 1,647,500 seafarers, of which 774,000 are officers and 873,500 are ratings. China, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine are the five largest nationalities of all seafarers (officers and ratings). The Philippines is the biggest supplier of ratings, followed by China, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. While China is the biggest supplier of officers, followed by the Philippines, India, Indonesia and the Russian Federation. These crews rub along quite well generally, and as one who has spent some time at sea, the writer can state that one of the great pleasures of sea-time (and one of the great annoyances) is inter-reacting with all the foreign crew members and learning about their culture and cuisine. However autonomous shipping is steaming over the horizon and it must be welcomed into port if our general prosperity is to increase. The really interesting time comes after autonomous shipping when AI takes over the logistics and trading, assessing cargo prices and starts re-routing ships to maximise profit. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s maritime connectivity, digital applications, cybersecurity, autonomous maritime vessel and other maritime reports, please contact   info@valourconsultancy.com and “Maritime Research” in the subject line.   [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

ATG to Drive Adoption of In-Flight Connectivity in China

Mainland China has been unanimously pegged as the next big growth area in the global In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) market for some time now. The country’s aviation sector continues to grow at pace and local airlines possess largely unconnected fleets of almost 3,700 aircraft, 85 per cent of which are single aisle. According to our most recent Quarterly IFC Tracker, 168 aircraft registered to airlines in Mainland China (all wide-body) offered passenger connectivity at the end of March 2019; just 5% of the commercial active fleet.

One could be forgiven for assuming Chinese airlines will follow the lead of others, globally, and opt for satellite connectivity. Afterall, much of the limited IFC-related activity to date has been around bringing satellite-based solutions to market, including recent tie-ups between Viasat and China Satcom, and Honeywell and local service provider Air Esurfing. Furthermore, Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band solution, which is installed on almost every Chinese aircraft equipped with IFC today, is expected to remain relevant in the coming years thanks to the company’s investment in the APSTAR 6D HTS satellite. But it seems increasingly likely that airlines in Mainland China will be presented with an alternative to satellite-based IFC in the form of China Mobile’s proposed 5G Air-To-Ground network.

China is one of a few countries that can be considered a natural fit for an ATG network. After all, it is the fourth largest in the world, in terms of landmass (behind the U.S., Canada and Russia) and the volume of aviation traffic operating within Chinese borders continues to rise; an estimated 75 per cent of narrow-body aircraft registered to local airlines operate routes exclusively within Mainland borders. Beyond these factors, the broader benefits of ATG over satellite-based solutions, specifically reduced downtime and installation costs, would no doubt appeal to those Tier 2 and 3 airlines unlikely to install a Ku- or Ka-band solution.

With the above in mind, it is no surprise various companies, such as Beijing Weibang Yuanhang Wireless Technology Co., Ltd (Weibang) and China Telecom Satellite have trialled small-scale networks in recent years. The latter is understood to still have 32 towers active and ready to go pending regulatory approval, which to date remains allusive.

In 2018, China Mobile joined this list, successfully trialling a 4G LTE network consisting of 52 ground base stations positioned across a number of high traffic routes. Now, the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) is understood to be working toward launching a full blown 5G ATG network, which will leverage a large chunk of spectrum in the 4.8-4.9 GHz band.

In our most recent report “IFC in China, India and Russia – 2019”, we have put our neck on the line to suggest this ATG concept will succeed where others have failed and become commercially active. But what is it about this proposal that stands out from those before it? For us, there are several factors.

  • China Mobile is the largest in the world, boasting 931 million mobile subscribers (as of March 2019), all of which would likely benefit from the in-flight service, driving take-rates.
  • China Mobile is a state-owned entity, a status that at the very least could speed up the regulatory process associated with launching its proposed network.
  • Crucially, Chinese aviation regulator, the CAAC, seems to be behind the proposal too, having been part of the initial 4G LTE trial in 2018 and subsequently talking up China Mobile’s intentions in a paper published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October 2018.
  • Finally, China Mobile has surrounded itself with good company. In 2018, it partnered with the Chinese R&D subsidiary of Airbus to develop an end-to-end 5G ATG solution and a month later Chinese heavyweight, Huawei, was brought into the fold to work on the associated terminal.

But whilst there appears to be a number of factors in China Mobile’s favour, it is also important to acknowledge that some significant hurdles lie ahead. Firstly, to justify its existence, the proposed network would have to attract at least one of the major airlines, such as China Southern, China Eastern, Air China or Hainan Airlines. Whilst there appears to be genuine interest from Tier one airlines, a formal decision will likely require proof of service quality. This will understandably take time.

More fundamentally, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) will need convincing that its concerns around the network’s frequency interference with sovereign military and space applications are unfounded. Whilst this is not expected to put an end to China Mobile’s proposal, it looks likely to delay a commercial launch beyond the MNO’s suggested 2021 launch, with 2022/23 a more realistic time-frame.

Clearly then, there is still some way to go before China Mobile’s proposed ATG network becomes a reality and there is every chance this could be yet another trial that doesn’t ever make the jump to a commercially viable solution. However, the genuine momentum which seems to be building behind this concept makes it difficult to ignore when thinking about the future of IFC in China. All factors point toward this ATG proposal being the one which becomes a reality. Assuming all goes to plan for China Mobile in the next couple of years, we estimate the installed base of ATG in Mainland China will reach approximately 1,300 aircraft by the end of 2028.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4841|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/china-654405_1280.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="default" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="#ffffff" top_margin="20" bottom_margin="20" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text] Mainland China has been unanimously pegged as the next big growth area in the global In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) market for some time now. The country’s aviation sector continues to grow at pace and local airlines possess largely unconnected fleets of almost 3,700 aircraft, 85 per cent of which are single aisle. According to our most recent Quarterly IFC Tracker, 168 aircraft registered to airlines in Mainland China (all wide-body) offered passenger connectivity at the end of March 2019; just 5% of the commercial active fleet. One could be forgiven for assuming Chinese airlines will follow the lead of others, globally, and opt for satellite connectivity. Afterall, much of the limited IFC-related activity to date has been around bringing satellite-based solutions to market, including recent tie-ups between Viasat and China Satcom, and Honeywell and local service provider Air Esurfing. Furthermore, Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band solution, which is installed on almost every Chinese aircraft equipped with IFC today, is expected to remain relevant in the coming years thanks to the company’s investment in the APSTAR 6D HTS satellite. But it seems increasingly likely that airlines in Mainland China will be presented with an alternative to satellite-based IFC in the form of China Mobile’s proposed 5G Air-To-Ground network. China is one of a few countries that can be considered a natural fit for an ATG network. After all, it is the fourth largest in the world, in terms of landmass (behind the U.S., Canada and Russia) and the volume of aviation traffic operating within Chinese borders continues to rise; an estimated 75 per cent of narrow-body aircraft registered to local airlines operate routes exclusively within Mainland borders. Beyond these factors, the broader benefits of ATG over satellite-based solutions, specifically reduced downtime and installation costs, would no doubt appeal to those Tier 2 and 3 airlines unlikely to install a Ku- or Ka-band solution. With the above in mind, it is no surprise various companies, such as Beijing Weibang Yuanhang Wireless Technology Co., Ltd (Weibang) and China Telecom Satellite have trialled small-scale networks in recent years. The latter is understood to still have 32 towers active and ready to go pending regulatory approval, which to date remains allusive. In 2018, China Mobile joined this list, successfully trialling a 4G LTE network consisting of 52 ground base stations positioned across a number of high traffic routes. Now, the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) is understood to be working toward launching a full blown 5G ATG network, which will leverage a large chunk of spectrum in the 4.8-4.9 GHz band. In our most recent report “IFC in China, India and Russia – 2019”, we have put our neck on the line to suggest this ATG concept will succeed where others have failed and become commercially active. But what is it about this proposal that stands out from those before it? For us, there are several factors.
  • China Mobile is the largest in the world, boasting 931 million mobile subscribers (as of March 2019), all of which would likely benefit from the in-flight service, driving take-rates.
  • China Mobile is a state-owned entity, a status that at the very least could speed up the regulatory process associated with launching its proposed network.
  • Crucially, Chinese aviation regulator, the CAAC, seems to be behind the proposal too, having been part of the initial 4G LTE trial in 2018 and subsequently talking up China Mobile’s intentions in a paper published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October 2018.
  • Finally, China Mobile has surrounded itself with good company. In 2018, it partnered with the Chinese R&D subsidiary of Airbus to develop an end-to-end 5G ATG solution and a month later Chinese heavyweight, Huawei, was brought into the fold to work on the associated terminal.
But whilst there appears to be a number of factors in China Mobile’s favour, it is also important to acknowledge that some significant hurdles lie ahead. Firstly, to justify its existence, the proposed network would have to attract at least one of the major airlines, such as China Southern, China Eastern, Air China or Hainan Airlines. Whilst there appears to be genuine interest from Tier one airlines, a formal decision will likely require proof of service quality. This will understandably take time. More fundamentally, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) will need convincing that its concerns around the network’s frequency interference with sovereign military and space applications are unfounded. Whilst this is not expected to put an end to China Mobile’s proposal, it looks likely to delay a commercial launch beyond the MNO’s suggested 2021 launch, with 2022/23 a more realistic time-frame. Clearly then, there is still some way to go before China Mobile’s proposed ATG network becomes a reality and there is every chance this could be yet another trial that doesn’t ever make the jump to a commercially viable solution. However, the genuine momentum which seems to be building behind this concept makes it difficult to ignore when thinking about the future of IFC in China. All factors point toward this ATG proposal being the one which becomes a reality. Assuming all goes to plan for China Mobile in the next couple of years, we estimate the installed base of ATG in Mainland China will reach approximately 1,300 aircraft by the end of 2028. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Time to Get Your Assets in Gear

Author: Steve Flood and Josh Flood

For some time, the maritime and offshore industry has been dipping its toe into the potential benefit pool of remote monitoring, predictive maintenance and reliability surveillance of its remote assets. This is the result of two threads of development; one coming from deep water inshore and one going from inshore towards deep water.

Almost all modern international and coastal shipping uses sophisticated engine monitoring and control systems as supplied by the engine manufacturer (normally required as any part of a performance guarantee).

Below is a list of major marine engine manufacturers and their control systems. These are not in any particular order and there are several more producing smaller engines.

The reason these are mentioned is that the age of the “Smart Ship” has been creeping towards us for several decades. Various pieces of a ship’s operation have been under stand-alone microprocessor control and monitoring for some time – the engine, fire suppression, air-conditioning and, even to a certain extent, navigation and bridge control.

Largely, as a result of the needs of the deep-water offshore oil exploration vessels that work in waters of such depths that anchorage is not possible, these independent systems have been brought together as suites of allied programmes or applications that report to a supervisory program which controls their performance and the vessel behaviour according to parameters given it and reports any malfunctions or warnings to the marine and engineering crew. These have developed sufficiently that when danger threatens, such as a major hurricane, the crews are taken ashore and the deep-water vessels are left under autonomic control. The big names here are Kongsberg, GE Power Conversion (previously Converteam), Siemens, Wärtsilä and ABB (Ability Marine Pilot Vision.)

Meanwhile, in the duck pond, the boat model enthusiasts have been quietly expanding their repertoire of tricks. From model battleships on park lakes to surface and underwater drones, control systems have been quietly developing into sophisticated algorithms that allow virtually independent operation or, at least, remote monitoring, control and operation. Some purveyors of smaller systems are Reygar Marine (BareFleet), MINSHIP (using DNV GL’s software) and SERTICA.

In May 2018, the senior technical body of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the Marine Safety Committee (MSC) defined a ‘Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS)’ as a ship, which to a varying degree, can operate independently of human interaction. It enlisted several non-hierarchical degrees of autonomy that a ship could have for the duration of a single voyage as:

Degree one: Ship with automated processes and decision support. Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and functions. Some operations may be automated and at times be unsupervised, but with seafarers on board ready to take control.

Degree two: Remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Seafarers are available on board to take control and to operate the shipboard systems and functions.

Degree three: Remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location.

Degree four: Fully autonomous ship. The operating system of the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself.

According to Wärtsilä’s Vice President, Vladimir Ponomarev “Autonomous shipping will continue to evolve over the next 15–30 years. In the future, ship traffic control will move to the shore and a standardised framework very similar to what we have in aviation today will likely be established. This level of co-ordination will be needed in maritime. Planes are almost fully controlled by auto-pilot and in this sense, they are autonomous despite the fact that they still have crew on board to balance the risks in emergency cases. We cannot fully eliminate the human factor at sea, that’s not the objective either, but I do foresee a similar future for shipping,”

Although deep-water drillships and semi-submersibles are capable of autonomous station keeping during dangerous weather, the maritime industry has not yet made the leap to full autonomy. This will most probably occur not from offshore to coastal shipping but in exactly the opposite direction.

There are already two autonomous ferries. Wärtsilä tested the 85m Folgefonn, a car ferry, in November 2108, under full autonomous operation, with no human intervention, visiting three different ports in Norway.

In December 2018, Rolls Royce demonstrated the 54m Finferries ferry Falco near Turku in Finland. This is a 1993 vessel retro-fitted with SVAN (Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation). This is part of its Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) project. They are working on an unmanned cargo ship which will be driven from the shore. Their goal is to let this ship sail in 2020. Rolls-Royce, now owned by Kongsberg, works with several maritime companies, such as Deltamarin, DNV GL, Brighthouse NAPA and Inmarsat.

Harbour tugs are clearly ripe candidates for autonomous control. Any pilot or Harbour Master that can control his tugs directly would have a tremendous advantage over traditional docking arrangements. This why Singapore’s Marine and Port Authority (MPA) is embarking on five autonomous shipping projects aimed at future-proofing operations at its busy transhipment port.

It collaborating with with PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH), M1 (a Singaporean telecommunications provider), and the classification society the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to convert an existing manned tugboat to a smart autonomous vessel.

It is co-funding another project with Wärtsilä, pilotage services provider PSA Marine and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore to develop of a smart tug – IntelliTug. PSA Marine tug operations perform over 90,000 towage jobs a year and are an important lifeline for Singapore.

Keppel Singmarine, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, has secured a grant of Singaporean $2m ($1.5m US) to develop of an autonomous tug to be operated by Keppel Smit Towage. It involves retrofitting a 65-tonne tug with advanced systems such as position manoeuvring, digital pilot vision, collision detection ad avoidance. There will be an onshore command centre to remotely control the tug using the 4.5G network set up by M1. Interestingly it involves the development of a digital twin of the tug to simulate vessel behaviour in various scenarios and optimise vessel operations.

It is co-funding an autonomous flotsam clearing vessel.

By far the most ambitious project involves an ocean-going car carrier operated by Mitsui. This project calls on ST Engineering, a Singapore-listed yard operating conglomerate, to develop and install perception and navigation modules on board the Singapore-flagged vessel which is capable of ferrying 8,000 cars. Lloyd’s Register will lend its expertise on assurance, certification and regulation as well as approval of systems for the application of autonomous shipping technology on the vessel. The project will see the carrier navigate routes through the busiest waterways and shipping lanes, including the Suez Canal, Panama Canal, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Mitsui have already demonstrated virtual auto-berthing and un-berthing and plan a practical demonstration this year.

In a separate development in Norway, fertilizer producer Yara and maritime technology firm Kongsberg Gruppe are working on a project to build the world’s first autonomous ship: Yara Birkeland. In 2018, the vessel was tested with a captain and a small crew with the goal to have the ship fully autonomous in 2020. Yara Birkeland will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, with zero emissions. With this vessel, Yara will reduce diesel-powered truck haulage by 40,000 journeys a year.

Industry experts speculate that most degrees of tug automation is 5 to 10 years away but Valour Consultancy suspects that 2 to 3 years is a more likely scenario barring severe recessions or war. Integrated Automation Systems (IAS) are almost upon us and the increasing availability of world-wide 4G-5G communication is an integral part of the recipe. Communication providers such as Inmarsat and KVH are at the forefront of providing this facility. In particular, Kongsberg Digital plans to utilize KVH Watch IoT Connectivity as a Service in their digitalization product portfolio. It will feature two modes: Watch Flow, for 24/7, machine-to-machine data delivery compatible with major IoT ecosystems such as Kognifai; and Watch Intervention, for on-demand high-speed sessions for face-to-face support and remote equipment access.

For more information on Valour Consultancy’s maritime connectivity, digital applications, cybersecurity, autonomous maritime vessel and other maritime reports, please contact info@valourconsultancy.com and “Maritime Research” in the subject line.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] Author: Steve Flood and Josh Flood For some time, the maritime and offshore industry has been dipping its toe into the potential benefit pool of remote monitoring, predictive maintenance and reliability surveillance of its remote assets. This is the result of two threads of development; one coming from deep water inshore and one going from inshore towards deep water. Almost all modern international and coastal shipping uses sophisticated engine monitoring and control systems as supplied by the engine manufacturer (normally required as any part of a performance guarantee). [/fusion_text][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] Below is a list of major marine engine manufacturers and their control systems. These are not in any particular order and there are several more producing smaller engines. The reason these are mentioned is that the age of the “Smart Ship” has been creeping towards us for several decades. Various pieces of a ship’s operation have been under stand-alone microprocessor control and monitoring for some time – the engine, fire suppression, air-conditioning and, even to a certain extent, navigation and bridge control. Largely, as a result of the needs of the deep-water offshore oil exploration vessels that work in waters of such depths that anchorage is not possible, these independent systems have been brought together as suites of allied programmes or applications that report to a supervisory program which controls their performance and the vessel behaviour according to parameters given it and reports any malfunctions or warnings to the marine and engineering crew. These have developed sufficiently that when danger threatens, such as a major hurricane, the crews are taken ashore and the deep-water vessels are left under autonomic control. The big names here are Kongsberg, GE Power Conversion (previously Converteam), Siemens, Wärtsilä and ABB (Ability Marine Pilot Vision.) Meanwhile, in the duck pond, the boat model enthusiasts have been quietly expanding their repertoire of tricks. From model battleships on park lakes to surface and underwater drones, control systems have been quietly developing into sophisticated algorithms that allow virtually independent operation or, at least, remote monitoring, control and operation. Some purveyors of smaller systems are Reygar Marine (BareFleet), MINSHIP (using DNV GL’s software) and SERTICA. In May 2018, the senior technical body of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the Marine Safety Committee (MSC) defined a ‘Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS)’ as a ship, which to a varying degree, can operate independently of human interaction. It enlisted several non-hierarchical degrees of autonomy that a ship could have for the duration of a single voyage as: Degree one: Ship with automated processes and decision support. Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and functions. Some operations may be automated and at times be unsupervised, but with seafarers on board ready to take control. Degree two: Remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Seafarers are available on board to take control and to operate the shipboard systems and functions. Degree three: Remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Degree four: Fully autonomous ship. The operating system of the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself. According to Wärtsilä’s Vice President, Vladimir Ponomarev “Autonomous shipping will continue to evolve over the next 15–30 years. In the future, ship traffic control will move to the shore and a standardised framework very similar to what we have in aviation today will likely be established. This level of co-ordination will be needed in maritime. Planes are almost fully controlled by auto-pilot and in this sense, they are autonomous despite the fact that they still have crew on board to balance the risks in emergency cases. We cannot fully eliminate the human factor at sea, that’s not the objective either, but I do foresee a similar future for shipping,” Although deep-water drillships and semi-submersibles are capable of autonomous station keeping during dangerous weather, the maritime industry has not yet made the leap to full autonomy. This will most probably occur not from offshore to coastal shipping but in exactly the opposite direction. There are already two autonomous ferries. Wärtsilä tested the 85m Folgefonn, a car ferry, in November 2108, under full autonomous operation, with no human intervention, visiting three different ports in Norway. In December 2018, Rolls Royce demonstrated the 54m Finferries ferry Falco near Turku in Finland. This is a 1993 vessel retro-fitted with SVAN (Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation). This is part of its Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) project. They are working on an unmanned cargo ship which will be driven from the shore. Their goal is to let this ship sail in 2020. Rolls-Royce, now owned by Kongsberg, works with several maritime companies, such as Deltamarin, DNV GL, Brighthouse NAPA and Inmarsat. Harbour tugs are clearly ripe candidates for autonomous control. Any pilot or Harbour Master that can control his tugs directly would have a tremendous advantage over traditional docking arrangements. This why Singapore’s Marine and Port Authority (MPA) is embarking on five autonomous shipping projects aimed at future-proofing operations at its busy transhipment port. It collaborating with with PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH), M1 (a Singaporean telecommunications provider), and the classification society the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to convert an existing manned tugboat to a smart autonomous vessel. It is co-funding another project with Wärtsilä, pilotage services provider PSA Marine and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore to develop of a smart tug - IntelliTug. PSA Marine tug operations perform over 90,000 towage jobs a year and are an important lifeline for Singapore. Keppel Singmarine, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, has secured a grant of Singaporean $2m ($1.5m US) to develop of an autonomous tug to be operated by Keppel Smit Towage. It involves retrofitting a 65-tonne tug with advanced systems such as position manoeuvring, digital pilot vision, collision detection ad avoidance. There will be an onshore command centre to remotely control the tug using the 4.5G network set up by M1. Interestingly it involves the development of a digital twin of the tug to simulate vessel behaviour in various scenarios and optimise vessel operations. It is co-funding an autonomous flotsam clearing vessel. By far the most ambitious project involves an ocean-going car carrier operated by Mitsui. This project calls on ST Engineering, a Singapore-listed yard operating conglomerate, to develop and install perception and navigation modules on board the Singapore-flagged vessel which is capable of ferrying 8,000 cars. Lloyd’s Register will lend its expertise on assurance, certification and regulation as well as approval of systems for the application of autonomous shipping technology on the vessel. The project will see the carrier navigate routes through the busiest waterways and shipping lanes, including the Suez Canal, Panama Canal, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Mitsui have already demonstrated virtual auto-berthing and un-berthing and plan a practical demonstration this year. In a separate development in Norway, fertilizer producer Yara and maritime technology firm Kongsberg Gruppe are working on a project to build the world’s first autonomous ship: Yara Birkeland. In 2018, the vessel was tested with a captain and a small crew with the goal to have the ship fully autonomous in 2020. Yara Birkeland will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, with zero emissions. With this vessel, Yara will reduce diesel-powered truck haulage by 40,000 journeys a year. Industry experts speculate that most degrees of tug automation is 5 to 10 years away but Valour Consultancy suspects that 2 to 3 years is a more likely scenario barring severe recessions or war. Integrated Automation Systems (IAS) are almost upon us and the increasing availability of world-wide 4G-5G communication is an integral part of the recipe. Communication providers such as Inmarsat and KVH are at the forefront of providing this facility. In particular, Kongsberg Digital plans to utilize KVH Watch IoT Connectivity as a Service in their digitalization product portfolio. It will feature two modes: Watch Flow, for 24/7, machine-to-machine data delivery compatible with major IoT ecosystems such as Kognifai; and Watch Intervention, for on-demand high-speed sessions for face-to-face support and remote equipment access. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s maritime connectivity, digital applications, cybersecurity, autonomous maritime vessel and other maritime reports, please contact info@valourconsultancy.com and “Maritime Research” in the subject line. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

2’s Company, 28’s a Crowd: Truth and Lies in Wireless IFE

With the world and his W-IFE now seemingly involved, keeping track of developments in this market is one that becomes more difficult with every passing quarter. At last count (Q1 2019), 25 service providers had installed their respective solutions on at least one aircraft, and more are entering the fray all the time. TEAC’s new portable solution, PortaStream, launched with IBEX Airlines on April 1st, Mythopoeia is currently rolling out its streaming platform on Rossiya and Atlas Air, while Phitek’s long-delayed deployment of Cabinstream boxes on the Afrijet ATR fleet is finally underway. So there will be at least 28 active vendors when we get round to crunching the numbers for Q2 and as we’ve covered before, plenty of candidates providing infotainment solutions in other transportation markets that may also decide they want a piece of the action.

Even so, the market is what the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) would define as “moderately concentrated” – 1,693 being the total of each companies’ squared market share. In comparison, seatback IFE, which is dominated by Panasonic Avionics and Thales, has a HHI of 4,809, which is indicative of a highly concentrated marketplace. The reason for this is that the top five vendors – Gogo, Panasonic Avionics, Global Eagle, Viasat and Thales – collectively account for just over three-quarters of all aircraft with W-IFE. Each company owes their lofty position in the market share rankings primarily to their in-flight connectivity (IFC) heritage – W-IFE shares the same on-board architecture as IFC and can be bolted onto existing installations relatively easily.

Beyond this top five lies a clutch of vendors offering W-IFE solutions with no connectivity element of their own, although several have partnered with IFC providers to combine the two services. Only five of these companies have equipped more than 100 aircraft with W-IFE; Lufthansa Systems, AirFi, Safran (Zii), Immfly and Bluebox Aviation Systems. And contrary to the incredible number of competing W-IFE studies being pumped out on a near daily basis (see exhibits A, B and C), BAE systems are not active in the market and haven’t been for some time, while Bluebox Avionics became Bluebox Aviation Systems more than two years ago. Just remember folks, not all market intelligence firms were created equal. Some of us spend hours conducting real, primary research ?

The influx of vendors certainly makes sense when you consider the apparent advantages of W-IFE – less costly systems, reduced weight/fuel burn, rapid installation (in the case of portable W-IFE), lower maintenance costs, an abundance of PEDs being brought on board, a large untapped single-aisle market, the potential to generate ancillary revenues etc. But eight years after wireless streaming first came to the fore, there are problems still to be ironed out.

Chief amongst them is the apparent frustration passengers experience when dealing with app-based DRM. Whether it be confusion that on-board Wi-Fi is not necessarily the same as Wi-Fi that opens the door to the world wide web, an inability to download an app in a disconnected environment, or issues with compatibility across different mobile operating systems, it would seem that the move away from app-based DRM can’t come soon enough. For service providers, app-based DRM is undesirable for several reasons. Not only do passengers often forget to download W-IFE applications ahead of their journey, evidence is stacking up to suggest there’s a ceiling on the number of apps they are willing to download and use. And of course, apps create additional costs every time an update to an operating system is rolled out.

Another issue is the lack of in-seat power on the majority of single-aisle aircraft – the key target market for W-IFE vendors. According to our latest study, about 20% of single-aisle seats have an in-seat power outlet, compared to about 75% of available seats on twin-aisle aircraft. With no access to on-board power, there is every chance passengers won’t use W-IFE and instead, opt to preserve precious charge for when they land. Thankfully, departmental siloes that have prevented these two amenities from being deployed at the same time are showing signs of breaking down.

The question remains whether the market can sustain nigh-on 30 different vendors. It’s one thing putting together impressive looking demo solutions inexpensively. However, ensuring these solutions satisfy Hollywood studios, demonstrating PCI compliance and getting installations done under STC are all difficult, time consuming and expensive. That’s without taking into account the difficulties in facing off against established IFE players who carry more clout when it comes to getting their solutions approved for the line-fit market and who can often draw upon expansive R&D budgets of parent companies, as well as the ability to offer truly global after sales services.

Consolidation seems inevitable and it would be foolish to assume others won’t go the way of Storebox Inflight, Ocleen TV, BAE Systems and PaxLife, all of which entered and exited the market in a relatively small space of time.

As part of our aviation portfolio, and to supplement our in-depth annual deep dive into the in-flight entertainment market, Valour Consultancy delivers a quarterly tracker designed to keep those with an interest in the area updated on W-IFE installation activity and key trends. Unlike other quarterly trackers, the W-IFE tracker is extremely rich in data with various splits including airline, product type, aircraft type, sub fleet, fitment type, geographic region, connectivity and service provider and hardware partners. Its updated with input from service providers and airlines and is a must-have resource for anyone looking for an accurate and up-to-date understanding of the market.

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With the world and his W-IFE now seemingly involved, keeping track of developments in this market is one that becomes more difficult with every passing quarter. At last count (Q1 2019), 25 service providers had installed their respective solutions on at least one aircraft, and more are entering the fray all the time. TEAC’s new portable solution, PortaStream, launched with IBEX Airlines on April 1st, Mythopoeia is currently rolling out its streaming platform on Rossiya and Atlas Air, while Phitek’s long-delayed deployment of Cabinstream boxes on the Afrijet ATR fleet is finally underway. So there will be at least 28 active vendors when we get round to crunching the numbers for Q2 and as we’ve covered before, plenty of candidates providing infotainment solutions in other transportation markets that may also decide they want a piece of the action. Even so, the market is what the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) would define as “moderately concentrated” – 1,693 being the total of each companies’ squared market share. In comparison, seatback IFE, which is dominated by Panasonic Avionics and Thales, has a HHI of 4,809, which is indicative of a highly concentrated marketplace. The reason for this is that the top five vendors – Gogo, Panasonic Avionics, Global Eagle, Viasat and Thales – collectively account for just over three-quarters of all aircraft with W-IFE. Each company owes their lofty position in the market share rankings primarily to their in-flight connectivity (IFC) heritage – W-IFE shares the same on-board architecture as IFC and can be bolted onto existing installations relatively easily. Beyond this top five lies a clutch of vendors offering W-IFE solutions with no connectivity element of their own, although several have partnered with IFC providers to combine the two services. Only five of these companies have equipped more than 100 aircraft with W-IFE; Lufthansa Systems, AirFi, Safran (Zii), Immfly and Bluebox Aviation Systems. And contrary to the incredible number of competing W-IFE studies being pumped out on a near daily basis (see exhibits A, B and C), BAE systems are not active in the market and haven’t been for some time, while Bluebox Avionics became Bluebox Aviation Systems more than two years ago. Just remember folks, not all market intelligence firms were created equal. Some of us spend hours conducting real, primary research ? The influx of vendors certainly makes sense when you consider the apparent advantages of W-IFE – less costly systems, reduced weight/fuel burn, rapid installation (in the case of portable W-IFE), lower maintenance costs, an abundance of PEDs being brought on board, a large untapped single-aisle market, the potential to generate ancillary revenues etc. But eight years after wireless streaming first came to the fore, there are problems still to be ironed out. Chief amongst them is the apparent frustration passengers experience when dealing with app-based DRM. Whether it be confusion that on-board Wi-Fi is not necessarily the same as Wi-Fi that opens the door to the world wide web, an inability to download an app in a disconnected environment, or issues with compatibility across different mobile operating systems, it would seem that the move away from app-based DRM can’t come soon enough. For service providers, app-based DRM is undesirable for several reasons. Not only do passengers often forget to download W-IFE applications ahead of their journey, evidence is stacking up to suggest there’s a ceiling on the number of apps they are willing to download and use. And of course, apps create additional costs every time an update to an operating system is rolled out. Another issue is the lack of in-seat power on the majority of single-aisle aircraft – the key target market for W-IFE vendors. According to our latest study, about 20% of single-aisle seats have an in-seat power outlet, compared to about 75% of available seats on twin-aisle aircraft. With no access to on-board power, there is every chance passengers won’t use W-IFE and instead, opt to preserve precious charge for when they land. Thankfully, departmental siloes that have prevented these two amenities from being deployed at the same time are showing signs of breaking down. The question remains whether the market can sustain nigh-on 30 different vendors. It’s one thing putting together impressive looking demo solutions inexpensively. However, ensuring these solutions satisfy Hollywood studios, demonstrating PCI compliance and getting installations done under STC are all difficult, time consuming and expensive. That’s without taking into account the difficulties in facing off against established IFE players who carry more clout when it comes to getting their solutions approved for the line-fit market and who can often draw upon expansive R&D budgets of parent companies, as well as the ability to offer truly global after sales services. Consolidation seems inevitable and it would be foolish to assume others won’t go the way of Storebox Inflight, Ocleen TV, BAE Systems and PaxLife, all of which entered and exited the market in a relatively small space of time. As part of our aviation portfolio, and to supplement our in-depth annual deep dive into the in-flight entertainment market, Valour Consultancy delivers a quarterly tracker designed to keep those with an interest in the area updated on W-IFE installation activity and key trends. Unlike other quarterly trackers, the W-IFE tracker is extremely rich in data with various splits including airline, product type, aircraft type, sub fleet, fitment type, geographic region, connectivity and service provider and hardware partners. Its updated with input from service providers and airlines and is a must-have resource for anyone looking for an accurate and up-to-date understanding of the market.

Speedcast Share Price Drops 40%

Speedcast International Ltd (ASX: SDA) share price fell 40% on 2nd July, wiping $340m off its value.

The market reacted to an announcement the company made earlier on Tuesday morning, in which the firm downgraded its revenue expectations for 2019. Speedcast confirmed full year earnings were expected to be in the range of $200m to $215m; down from $229m to $245m, the previous expected earnings, announced at the company’s AGM in May.

As such, Speedcast’s share price had dropped from $3.49 to $2.06 per share by the market close. As recently as August 2018, the company’s share price was as high as $6.83, before its announced planned acquisition of Globecomm.

There were three key reasons why Speedcast has downgraded its expectations for 2019:

  • Weak performance in enterprise and emerging markets, which it puts down largely to market conditions as well as a slow implementation of existing backlog.
  • Revenue delays from the second phase of their ten-year contract with National Broadband Network (NBN) as well as lower profitability due to additional resources needed during Q2 to ensure successful delivery of projects.
  • Another worrying contributing factor is a perceived market concern regarding the acquisition of Globecomm, which Speedcast completed a takeover of in December 2018. The incorporation of Globecomm’s EBITDA to Speedcast’s financials were lower than some expected. Delays in Globecomm’s government system integration projects, lower maritime revenue due to higher churn, and delays on new business have weakened the value of purchasing the American company.

Speedcast sought to stress that the difficulties experienced so far in 2019 were down to unforeseen delays and wider market factors; and not down to any structural or operational problems. The company still expect to see growth in the maritime market (approximately 5%), energy, and government segments over 2019.

The firm will hope that H2 2019 will bring better news than expected. The continued growth of the VSAT market and the potential to fully utilise Globecomm’s government contracts will give them reason to be optimistic that H2 expectations can be met.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4772|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/airport-bank-buy-534216-1200x657-1.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text] Speedcast International Ltd (ASX: SDA) share price fell 40% on 2nd July, wiping $340m off its value. The market reacted to an announcement the company made earlier on Tuesday morning, in which the firm downgraded its revenue expectations for 2019. Speedcast confirmed full year earnings were expected to be in the range of $200m to $215m; down from $229m to $245m, the previous expected earnings, announced at the company’s AGM in May. As such, Speedcast’s share price had dropped from $3.49 to $2.06 per share by the market close. As recently as August 2018, the company’s share price was as high as $6.83, before its announced planned acquisition of Globecomm. There were three key reasons why Speedcast has downgraded its expectations for 2019:
  • Weak performance in enterprise and emerging markets, which it puts down largely to market conditions as well as a slow implementation of existing backlog.
  • Revenue delays from the second phase of their ten-year contract with National Broadband Network (NBN) as well as lower profitability due to additional resources needed during Q2 to ensure successful delivery of projects.
  • Another worrying contributing factor is a perceived market concern regarding the acquisition of Globecomm, which Speedcast completed a takeover of in December 2018. The incorporation of Globecomm’s EBITDA to Speedcast’s financials were lower than some expected. Delays in Globecomm’s government system integration projects, lower maritime revenue due to higher churn, and delays on new business have weakened the value of purchasing the American company.
Speedcast sought to stress that the difficulties experienced so far in 2019 were down to unforeseen delays and wider market factors; and not down to any structural or operational problems. The company still expect to see growth in the maritime market (approximately 5%), energy, and government segments over 2019. The firm will hope that H2 2019 will bring better news than expected. The continued growth of the VSAT market and the potential to fully utilise Globecomm’s government contracts will give them reason to be optimistic that H2 expectations can be met. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Uberecstacy

Author – Steve and Joshua Flood

In June 12th 2019, the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington DC, highlighted innovations in the emerging electric powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) and urban air mobility (UAM) markets.

The market for drone taxis is both technologically exciting and potentially useful. As a drone and monorail enthusiast, I wish the very best developmental and utilisation outcomes for both. However, we must caution against overenthusiasm. There are certain overtones of the excitement surrounding monorails and Maglev in the late 20th century. Monorails are an ideal solution to a very specific set of problems but were touted as panacea for inner city congestion and pollution. Overegged, the downsides for monorails were not appreciated leaving embarrassing reminders in over 50 towns and cities of failure.

For a good explanation of monorail pros and cons click here.

Equally, there is a definite place for cheaper, pollution-free aerial transport in congested cities and, apart from the requirements for some detailed air-traffic management and, perhaps, a little more awareness of roof strengths and clearances (think hoardings, cooling towers and phone masts), eVTOL taxis are the way to go. But it is quite a niche market. The number of reports coming out from firms such as Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, NASA, Booz Allen Hamilton suggest rather large potential theoretical markets. In its bottom tier forecasts, Morgan Stanley suggests a total addressable market of $1.5 trillion US by 2040. A more bullish forecast skyrockets the market at $2.9 trillion US.

There are quite a number of companies putting money into the development of eVTOL craft. Not all of these are in the position to consider an air taxi service but they are all starting out on the journey.

List of active or potential players

Airbus A3 – A Silicon Valley offshoot of Airbus has produced the Vahana, an all-electric, self-piloted, VTOL aircraft with 8 motors mounted on four rotating wings

AIRSPACEX – based in Detroit, the company is planning MOBi-ONE which is a rotating wing four motor VTOL

Alauda – a group of Australian blokes who just want to race air cars. Their Airspeeder has four sets of counter-rotating props, a 10-minute flight time and top speed of up to 250 km/h. It looks a bit like a racing car frame. It is still some way from realising that they will need a business to support their racing desires but, if Australia joins the air taxi business, they already have a head start.

Aurora Flight Sciences (A Boeing Company) – A hybrid with one propulsion motor and 8 lift motors designed to carry 225 kg and can travel up to 180 km/h. It looks similar to something Lego might have invented. They also have the “Lightning Strike” developed with Rolls Royce and Honeywell – let’s not go there.

Bartini.aero – A Russian eVTOL with a 30-minute endurance and a 150 km range. It comes in two versions, 2-seater and 4-seater. It has a wing-style body. Mr Bartini was an Italian aircraft scientist whom resided in Russia. Renown for his involvement in ekranoplans; in effect, low flying planes, which roughly flew 20-30 metres above the ground. They are very fast and can carry significant cargo. The major challenge is they’re difficult to control. However, potentially this could not be a problem in today’s AI world.

Bell Nexus – From the Bell helicopter company, a six tilting ducted fans and a hybrid-electric power train, the Nexus is expected to carry 4 passengers plus a pilot up to distances of 240 km, speeds of up to 288 km/h.

Carter Aviation – A USA hybrid autogyro-plane with a petrol or diesel engine called the PAV – a four place Personal Air Vehicle. It appears to be better than a helicopter but not as good as a plane. Not exactly a Vertical Take-off as it needs some short forward momentum to achieve lift.

CityAirbus (Airbus Helicopters) – a multinational co-operative but producing in Donauwörth, Germany is an eight-motor ducted fan VTOL carrying 4 passengers for 15-minutes.

DeLorean Aerospace – You would have to have a heart of stone not to want to see an eVTOL called DeLorean. This is probably not what a taxi driver would use but certainly an item wealthy person would have locked in their toys department is a bygone certainty. It will have a range of up to 193km and a cruising speed of 241 km/h.

Ehang – A Chinese company that produces two versions of its passenger drone. The Ehang 184 can reach speeds over 100 km/h. It started carrying passengers in 2015 and in the next three years made more than 1,000 test flights, including some in “violent” conditions with dummies – which include storm-force winds, low visibility conditions, at night, and greater than 300 metres above the ground. It has eight propellers on four arms. By July 2018, nearly 40 single pilot, single passenger EHang 184s had been built. The Ehang 216 is a two-seater with 16 propellers. It clocked over 1,000 manned flights by July 2018 and its maximum range flown was only 8.8 km. It can fly 25-minutes and roughly cover a range of between 30–40 km. This aircraft is autonomous flying, monitored from a command-and-control centre.

Embraer – A Brazilian company which is partnering with Uber to launch the EmbraerX. A straightforward VTOL air taxi with 8 lift fans and 2 propulsion propellers. As of yet, no specifications have been made available.

Esprit Aeronautics – the British firm is planning a one-man craft called the Lancer ePAV. This is not an air taxi yet but a one passenger VTOL aircraft which will have the option of being all-electric or a hybrid electric aircraft. A dual seater is in the planning stage. It claims a unique form of stability/control technology unseen in current eVTOL designs. It features four pairs of counter-rotating propellers mounted on an overhead wing. There are no aircraft specification available yet to the public.

Hepard AviaNovations – This is a delightful concept vehicle with foldable and rotating wings like a butterfly, but hepard means cheetah. Test flights were suggested last year but no notice has been seen. Each wing has 11 fans. It’s so beautiful and comes in a single seater or dual seater version. Control is by blockchain-like distributed computer system which is tolerant of up to 5 failures before a flight is compromised. It can carry 240 kg of weight up to 75km and has a battery flight time of 30-minutes. The wings fold up so it can fit in a standard garage. This is unlikely to be taxi material but it looks like lots of fun.

HopFlyt – Based in Maryland, the US, its product is still in the modelling stage. The Venturi A3 is a rather unique design which will, hopefully, allow inter-city hopping, reducing the time from commuting from Baltimore to Washington DC from nearly 2 hours to potentially 12-minutes.

Hoversurf – A Russian or Californian company planning a two or four-seater drone taxi. Working models have already been tested. It will provide a flight time over 1 hour and travel at speeds of up to 250 km/h. The company says its Hoverbikes are currently being used by the Dubai police force. A unique selling point is that it can use normal car parking spaces. On the plus side, it looks like something out of Star Wars.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) – Producer of the 2-seater JAXA Hornisse type 2B. This is not a Starfighter. No specifications yet.

Jaunt Air Mobility – A Florida-based aerospace company that plans to test its prototype “flying taxi” at the end of 2020. Its key technology is reduced rotor operating speed aircraft (ROSA), which allows its flying machine to hover and cruise at least 50 per cent quieter than helicopters (apart from an almost irresistible urge to play “Ride of the Valkyries” over loudspeakers).

Joby Aviation – A California company developing an air taxi that may have a small aeroplane fuselage with four swivelling motors on each wing and two swivelling motors on each tail fin. The company is a tad secretive so technical specifications are not known.

Karem AircraftThe Butterfly is a quad tiltrotor aircraft that the Californian company said strikes the right balance between hover and cruise efficiency by using Optimum Speed Tiltrotor (OSTR) technology which combines the fast, inexpensive, safe operation of efficient fixed-wing airplanes with the robust hover capability of helicopters, a technology it has been working on for years for the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift programme.

Kitty Hawk / Zee Aero – This is the baby of Larry Page of Google. It is undergoing tests currently in New Zealand. It could have 12 lift fans mounted on the wings and one propulsion propeller at the rear of the fuselage.

Lilium Aviation – A Munich-based company producing a rotating wing 5-seater with 36 (yes 36) ducted fans. They have tested the 2-seater prototype and expect a 5-seater to be fully operational by the start of 2023

Napoleon Aero – A Russian offering which consists of a fat mini-plane with 46 fans embedded in its wings and canard. It’s a four-seater with a range of up to 100km.

Pipistrel – This Slovenian company is designing the Pipstrel 801 which has 8 lift fans in the wings and a single propulsion fan on the tail. Once at flying height the lift fans are shrouded leaving the wings to act normally and the craft acts as a plane. It’s a five person craft with a range of up to 100km and capable of speeds around 280 km/h.

Terrafugia – This is a Chinese-owned company based in the USA. They produce two versions of air taxis. One called the Transition which converts from car to plane and would be personally approved by Nick Nack (evil henchman in The Man with The Golden Gun), were he still with us. The other, and likely more serious offering, is the TF-2. This is an airframe with six lift fans and two propulsion fans which can be docked with either ca cargo pod or a 4-passenger pod. It has a provisional range of 300km and could carry up to 544kg.

VerdeGo Aero – Based in Daytona Beach Florida, the company has proposed a hybrid eVTOL called PAT200. It has two sets of tilting wings each with two propellors (so 8 in all) and independently powered. It can carry a 227kg load and travel at speeds of around 240 km/h. One assumes when not fully loaded

Vimana – A California-based enterprise offering a VTOL air taxi featuring fore and aft tilting wings with eight 60kW motors attached. Its range is estimated at roughly 900 km and could carry up 408 kg.

Volocopter – a German company with a rather unique design in air taxi. The VC2X is a two-seater fuselage mounted below a ring of 18 lift fans. It can carry up to 165kg and cover 27 km in roughly 27 minutes. It looks a little bit like Medusa on a bad hair day.

VRCO – In Derby, England, the company is promoting the NeoXCraft, a short lift-body fuselage/cockpit with electric ducted propellers fore and aft on each side. The ducts and propellers can go from vertical lift to horizontal flight mode. Its flight time is at least a 60-minutes and could fly up to 120 km and carry a maximum of 180 kg payload, roughly two passengers and can fly autonomously.

Workhorse – Workhorse is a USA truck manufacturer. This air taxi is a hybrid petrol-electric helicopter fuselage with four arms each with two electric contra-rotating propellers. This air taxi is called the Surefly. It can carry 180kg for a flight time of 1-hour and cover roughly 113 km.

XTI Aircraft – A private Denver, USA-based company that proposes the hybrid-electric Trifan 600. There is already an order book of nearly 80 craft. It is a 5 passenger + pilot craft which is capable of speeds around 300km/h and cover a range of 2,200 km. Probably suited to long-distance taxi fares.

There are several many others too.

The technological barriers that must be addressed

These include:

  • Landing platforms are fairly easily solved by elevated (above masts hoardings and towers) platforms on roofs
  • Landing priority may be a problem but logistically simple to solve
  • Safety is always an issue and there will be catastrophes but they will be significantly lower than motorway and road casualties (although the publicity may not indicate that)
  • Flight path permission may hinder some routes but there are ways round that
  • Mid-air collisions in this day and age of acute sensors and AI management should never occur
  • Weather will always be a problem for air traffic but, in the UK, at least, there is a certain philosophical acceptance of that
  • Regulation and Traffic management are quite simple but it will doubtless take many legislators, many greybeards and tons of bureaucracy before we arrive at an accepted outcome

There will be a portion of the wealthy, CEOs, super spies and politicians who might move from helicopters and there will be a portion of the limousine taxi riders who will move up. The problems are not the technology but the perception of risk and the laws of supply and demand.

One of the main advantages of the air-taxi model, given the limitations of power (battery energy) density and range, is the redundancy of the pilot/driver. Strangely humans appreciate a driver because they assume, rightly or wrongly, that a human driver will avoid risk as he/she would suffer the same consequences as his/her passengers. This is absurd as most risk events are caused by human-error, but it is not the way humans’ think.

In addition, people, in general, don’t like flying and don’t like flying in helicopters (or similar) even more so. The writer, having spent a large portion of his adult life in helicopters crossing the open seas to and from oilrigs, can attest that this is a nearly-universal truth. Overcoming this aversion may take longer than the funds to sustain the business model can last.

When money runs tight, economies must be made. Accountants and FCOs are especially vulnerable to cutting the cost of things they don’t understand. In the writer’s experience there is a special place in hell for bean-counters who try and save money by reducing maintenance.

This market will evolve slowly and steadily and not increase exponentially as many marketing companies envisage. It may well become a $2.9 trillion market US but it will take a generation at least.

-
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4781|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="left" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Volocopter-1.png[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] Author – Steve and Joshua Flood In June 12th 2019, the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington DC, highlighted innovations in the emerging electric powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) and urban air mobility (UAM) markets. The market for drone taxis is both technologically exciting and potentially useful. As a drone and monorail enthusiast, I wish the very best developmental and utilisation outcomes for both. However, we must caution against overenthusiasm. There are certain overtones of the excitement surrounding monorails and Maglev in the late 20th century. Monorails are an ideal solution to a very specific set of problems but were touted as panacea for inner city congestion and pollution. Overegged, the downsides for monorails were not appreciated leaving embarrassing reminders in over 50 towns and cities of failure. For a good explanation of monorail pros and cons click here. Equally, there is a definite place for cheaper, pollution-free aerial transport in congested cities and, apart from the requirements for some detailed air-traffic management and, perhaps, a little more awareness of roof strengths and clearances (think hoardings, cooling towers and phone masts), eVTOL taxis are the way to go. But it is quite a niche market. The number of reports coming out from firms such as Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, NASA, Booz Allen Hamilton suggest rather large potential theoretical markets. In its bottom tier forecasts, Morgan Stanley suggests a total addressable market of $1.5 trillion US by 2040. A more bullish forecast skyrockets the market at $2.9 trillion US. There are quite a number of companies putting money into the development of eVTOL craft. Not all of these are in the position to consider an air taxi service but they are all starting out on the journey.

List of active or potential players

Airbus A3 – A Silicon Valley offshoot of Airbus has produced the Vahana, an all-electric, self-piloted, VTOL aircraft with 8 motors mounted on four rotating wings AIRSPACEX – based in Detroit, the company is planning MOBi-ONE which is a rotating wing four motor VTOL Alauda – a group of Australian blokes who just want to race air cars. Their Airspeeder has four sets of counter-rotating props, a 10-minute flight time and top speed of up to 250 km/h. It looks a bit like a racing car frame. It is still some way from realising that they will need a business to support their racing desires but, if Australia joins the air taxi business, they already have a head start. Aurora Flight Sciences (A Boeing Company) – A hybrid with one propulsion motor and 8 lift motors designed to carry 225 kg and can travel up to 180 km/h. It looks similar to something Lego might have invented. They also have the “Lightning Strike” developed with Rolls Royce and Honeywell – let’s not go there. Bartini.aero – A Russian eVTOL with a 30-minute endurance and a 150 km range. It comes in two versions, 2-seater and 4-seater. It has a wing-style body. Mr Bartini was an Italian aircraft scientist whom resided in Russia. Renown for his involvement in ekranoplans; in effect, low flying planes, which roughly flew 20-30 metres above the ground. They are very fast and can carry significant cargo. The major challenge is they’re difficult to control. However, potentially this could not be a problem in today’s AI world. Bell Nexus – From the Bell helicopter company, a six tilting ducted fans and a hybrid-electric power train, the Nexus is expected to carry 4 passengers plus a pilot up to distances of 240 km, speeds of up to 288 km/h. Carter Aviation – A USA hybrid autogyro-plane with a petrol or diesel engine called the PAV – a four place Personal Air Vehicle. It appears to be better than a helicopter but not as good as a plane. Not exactly a Vertical Take-off as it needs some short forward momentum to achieve lift. CityAirbus (Airbus Helicopters) – a multinational co-operative but producing in Donauwörth, Germany is an eight-motor ducted fan VTOL carrying 4 passengers for 15-minutes. DeLorean Aerospace – You would have to have a heart of stone not to want to see an eVTOL called DeLorean. This is probably not what a taxi driver would use but certainly an item wealthy person would have locked in their toys department is a bygone certainty. It will have a range of up to 193km and a cruising speed of 241 km/h. Ehang – A Chinese company that produces two versions of its passenger drone. The Ehang 184 can reach speeds over 100 km/h. It started carrying passengers in 2015 and in the next three years made more than 1,000 test flights, including some in "violent" conditions with dummies – which include storm-force winds, low visibility conditions, at night, and greater than 300 metres above the ground. It has eight propellers on four arms. By July 2018, nearly 40 single pilot, single passenger EHang 184s had been built. The Ehang 216 is a two-seater with 16 propellers. It clocked over 1,000 manned flights by July 2018 and its maximum range flown was only 8.8 km. It can fly 25-minutes and roughly cover a range of between 30–40 km. This aircraft is autonomous flying, monitored from a command-and-control centre. Embraer – A Brazilian company which is partnering with Uber to launch the EmbraerX. A straightforward VTOL air taxi with 8 lift fans and 2 propulsion propellers. As of yet, no specifications have been made available. Esprit Aeronautics – the British firm is planning a one-man craft called the Lancer ePAV. This is not an air taxi yet but a one passenger VTOL aircraft which will have the option of being all-electric or a hybrid electric aircraft. A dual seater is in the planning stage. It claims a unique form of stability/control technology unseen in current eVTOL designs. It features four pairs of counter-rotating propellers mounted on an overhead wing. There are no aircraft specification available yet to the public. Hepard AviaNovations – This is a delightful concept vehicle with foldable and rotating wings like a butterfly, but hepard means cheetah. Test flights were suggested last year but no notice has been seen. Each wing has 11 fans. It’s so beautiful and comes in a single seater or dual seater version. Control is by blockchain-like distributed computer system which is tolerant of up to 5 failures before a flight is compromised. It can carry 240 kg of weight up to 75km and has a battery flight time of 30-minutes. The wings fold up so it can fit in a standard garage. This is unlikely to be taxi material but it looks like lots of fun. HopFlyt – Based in Maryland, the US, its product is still in the modelling stage. The Venturi A3 is a rather unique design which will, hopefully, allow inter-city hopping, reducing the time from commuting from Baltimore to Washington DC from nearly 2 hours to potentially 12-minutes. Hoversurf – A Russian or Californian company planning a two or four-seater drone taxi. Working models have already been tested. It will provide a flight time over 1 hour and travel at speeds of up to 250 km/h. The company says its Hoverbikes are currently being used by the Dubai police force. A unique selling point is that it can use normal car parking spaces. On the plus side, it looks like something out of Star Wars. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) – Producer of the 2-seater JAXA Hornisse type 2B. This is not a Starfighter. No specifications yet. Jaunt Air Mobility - A Florida-based aerospace company that plans to test its prototype “flying taxi” at the end of 2020. Its key technology is reduced rotor operating speed aircraft (ROSA), which allows its flying machine to hover and cruise at least 50 per cent quieter than helicopters (apart from an almost irresistible urge to play “Ride of the Valkyries” over loudspeakers). Joby Aviation – A California company developing an air taxi that may have a small aeroplane fuselage with four swivelling motors on each wing and two swivelling motors on each tail fin. The company is a tad secretive so technical specifications are not known. Karem Aircraft - The Butterfly is a quad tiltrotor aircraft that the Californian company said strikes the right balance between hover and cruise efficiency by using Optimum Speed Tiltrotor (OSTR) technology which combines the fast, inexpensive, safe operation of efficient fixed-wing airplanes with the robust hover capability of helicopters, a technology it has been working on for years for the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift programme. Kitty Hawk / Zee Aero – This is the baby of Larry Page of Google. It is undergoing tests currently in New Zealand. It could have 12 lift fans mounted on the wings and one propulsion propeller at the rear of the fuselage. Lilium Aviation – A Munich-based company producing a rotating wing 5-seater with 36 (yes 36) ducted fans. They have tested the 2-seater prototype and expect a 5-seater to be fully operational by the start of 2023 Napoleon Aero – A Russian offering which consists of a fat mini-plane with 46 fans embedded in its wings and canard. It’s a four-seater with a range of up to 100km. Pipistrel – This Slovenian company is designing the Pipstrel 801 which has 8 lift fans in the wings and a single propulsion fan on the tail. Once at flying height the lift fans are shrouded leaving the wings to act normally and the craft acts as a plane. It’s a five person craft with a range of up to 100km and capable of speeds around 280 km/h. Terrafugia – This is a Chinese-owned company based in the USA. They produce two versions of air taxis. One called the Transition which converts from car to plane and would be personally approved by Nick Nack (evil henchman in The Man with The Golden Gun), were he still with us. The other, and likely more serious offering, is the TF-2. This is an airframe with six lift fans and two propulsion fans which can be docked with either ca cargo pod or a 4-passenger pod. It has a provisional range of 300km and could carry up to 544kg. VerdeGo Aero – Based in Daytona Beach Florida, the company has proposed a hybrid eVTOL called PAT200. It has two sets of tilting wings each with two propellors (so 8 in all) and independently powered. It can carry a 227kg load and travel at speeds of around 240 km/h. One assumes when not fully loaded Vimana – A California-based enterprise offering a VTOL air taxi featuring fore and aft tilting wings with eight 60kW motors attached. Its range is estimated at roughly 900 km and could carry up 408 kg. Volocopter – a German company with a rather unique design in air taxi. The VC2X is a two-seater fuselage mounted below a ring of 18 lift fans. It can carry up to 165kg and cover 27 km in roughly 27 minutes. It looks a little bit like Medusa on a bad hair day. VRCO – In Derby, England, the company is promoting the NeoXCraft, a short lift-body fuselage/cockpit with electric ducted propellers fore and aft on each side. The ducts and propellers can go from vertical lift to horizontal flight mode. Its flight time is at least a 60-minutes and could fly up to 120 km and carry a maximum of 180 kg payload, roughly two passengers and can fly autonomously. Workhorse – Workhorse is a USA truck manufacturer. This air taxi is a hybrid petrol-electric helicopter fuselage with four arms each with two electric contra-rotating propellers. This air taxi is called the Surefly. It can carry 180kg for a flight time of 1-hour and cover roughly 113 km. XTI Aircraft – A private Denver, USA-based company that proposes the hybrid-electric Trifan 600. There is already an order book of nearly 80 craft. It is a 5 passenger + pilot craft which is capable of speeds around 300km/h and cover a range of 2,200 km. Probably suited to long-distance taxi fares. There are several many others too.

The technological barriers that must be addressed

These include:
  • Landing platforms are fairly easily solved by elevated (above masts hoardings and towers) platforms on roofs
  • Landing priority may be a problem but logistically simple to solve
  • Safety is always an issue and there will be catastrophes but they will be significantly lower than motorway and road casualties (although the publicity may not indicate that)
  • Flight path permission may hinder some routes but there are ways round that
  • Mid-air collisions in this day and age of acute sensors and AI management should never occur
  • Weather will always be a problem for air traffic but, in the UK, at least, there is a certain philosophical acceptance of that
  • Regulation and Traffic management are quite simple but it will doubtless take many legislators, many greybeards and tons of bureaucracy before we arrive at an accepted outcome
There will be a portion of the wealthy, CEOs, super spies and politicians who might move from helicopters and there will be a portion of the limousine taxi riders who will move up. The problems are not the technology but the perception of risk and the laws of supply and demand. One of the main advantages of the air-taxi model, given the limitations of power (battery energy) density and range, is the redundancy of the pilot/driver. Strangely humans appreciate a driver because they assume, rightly or wrongly, that a human driver will avoid risk as he/she would suffer the same consequences as his/her passengers. This is absurd as most risk events are caused by human-error, but it is not the way humans’ think. In addition, people, in general, don’t like flying and don’t like flying in helicopters (or similar) even more so. The writer, having spent a large portion of his adult life in helicopters crossing the open seas to and from oilrigs, can attest that this is a nearly-universal truth. Overcoming this aversion may take longer than the funds to sustain the business model can last. When money runs tight, economies must be made. Accountants and FCOs are especially vulnerable to cutting the cost of things they don’t understand. In the writer’s experience there is a special place in hell for bean-counters who try and save money by reducing maintenance. This market will evolve slowly and steadily and not increase exponentially as many marketing companies envisage. It may well become a $2.9 trillion market US but it will take a generation at least. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Summary of Inmarsat’s Pop-Up UAV Lab

Authors: Joshua Flood and David Whelan

On Thursday 30th of May 2019, we attended an Inmarsat Pop-Up UAV Lab at the firm’s Old Street headquarters.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, provided an introduction to the changing dynamics and use cases for aerial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and noted down several significant developments of the technology. One remarkable example is Zipline’s deployment and delivery of medicines, vaccines and blood to hospital facilities in Rwanda and other African nations.

Shortly after, Rupert announced Inmarsat’s new Aviator UAV 200, a dedicated L-band SATCOM system for UAS.

The light 1.45kg terminal capable of delivering background data services up to 200 Kbps of data, with a 1.35 seconds latency, via Inmarsat’s BGAN coverage. Its streaming class services can deliver up to 180kbps with half HDR.

The new UAV terminal will enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) communications, enabling real time control of the UAV via the satcom terminal. It’s a class 4 Swiftbroadband product with Inmarsat offering hemisphere coverage to 5 degrees elevation.

Inmarsat invited several UAS entities to provide some insights into their trials and uses of the Aviator UAV 200.

These companies are listed below:

  • Silent Falcon, based in New Mexico, USA
  • A-techSYN, based in Ireland and Turkey
  • Alpha Unmanned, based in Spain
  • Robot Aviation, based in Norway
  • Flylogix, UK

Before these companies presented and participated in the panel sessions, Inmarsat’s senior UAS management program provided an introduction to its new agile management approach and developing a culture of teams workings within teams rather than its traditional siloed workings. For example, its maritime staff working on maritime projects only, aviation on aviation, government on government and so forth.

Mike Holdsworth and Andrew Legg provided some insight into how Inmarsat plans to develop specialist leaders to target certain areas for UAV solution.

These include:

  • Joe Carr – Mining
  • Steven Tompkins – Agriculture
  • Daniel Cooper – Aid/NGO/Media
  • Mike Holdsworth – Transport
  • Gary Cosby – Energy and Oil and Gas

The presentation then delved into how the Aviator UAV 200 compared to competing IoT trends, comparing an Iridium IoT terminal which weighed 30 grams, which was capable of 0.3 kbps and had a terminal latency of 22 seconds. The Aviator also performed better than Iridium’s 9522B and Aircell Axxess terminal solutions too.

Starburst, an accelerator consultancy, provided an overview of high-performance UAVs highlighting seven areas consisting of mapping and surveillance, infrastructure and energy inspection, insurance cartography, forest monitoring, ecology, search and rescue and humanitarian aid and remote delivery.

In addition, the firm illustrated performance UAVs – civil against competing solutions such as satellite, High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS), general aviation, and helicopter. The primary barriers facing civil UAVs, stated by Starburst, were its expensive nature compared to satellite, limited coverage compared to other platforms, and usage limited by national regulations.

The value chain is dominated by three player types:

  • UAV OEMs and OES
  • UAV providers
  • Data analytic providers

The only company noted in the value chain who is strategically attempting to cover all areas is DJI, the largest Chinese UAV OEM with its renown Phantom and to a lesser extent, Inspire, brand UAVs.

Presently, the key inhibitors for UAVs are its expensive price points compared to satellite, limited yearly flight capacity (100 and 200 hours per year), limited battery technology which is prone to quickly degenerating, and restrictive regulations by aviation bodies in certain countries.

However, one of its key drivers is its enhanced capabilities for certain professions, such as monitoring pipelines.

Starburst predicts approximately 3,100 platform fleets will be active by 2030. In 2018, the firm believed 300 platform fleets were active.

Robot Aviation

Based in Norway, the firm developed UAV inspection capabilities for critical infrastructure assets, such as powerlines and/or search and rescue (SAR). The potential use of Inmarsat’s satcom systems will enable Robot Aviation to reduce mission planning, increase its UAV coverage area and also provide a more robust solution.

The implementation and practical usage of the UAV is still in its early stages and as such Robot Aviation have not yet completed any missions to date.

Robot Aviation are also developing and producing small to medium sized fixed wing UAVs for other commercial and military use. No further information was provided on the latter point.

The firm’s primary objective is to help the Norwegian SAR organisation with locating missing people. They only have 12 helicopters, and it is very taxing to complete the number of missions required in certain parts of the year. In 2018, the Norwegian SAR organisation completed 1994 missions, 817 of which were SAR.

In the UK, 2636 SAR missions took place in 2018.

Outcomes and Conclusions

With the introduction of Inmarsat’s satcom capabilities it will enable Robot Aviation to save time on mission planning, however, the savings on operational costs are unclear as no missions have been trialled.

It is also believed safety for the end-user will be increased and there will be less operational risk for those undertaking the SAR missions.

Silent Falcon

Based in New Mexico, USA.

The firm offers a class 2 small UAS which utilises solar electric for long endurance flights. Solar panels are located on the aircraft’s wings and top body enabling the system to fly for up to 8 hours, in optimal conditions. Relying solely on battery, the UAS’s flight time is limited to 4 hours.

Its primary applications are combatting wildland fire, land management, wildlife management, search and rescue, emergency management and intelligent surveillance and reconnaissance for border control, maritime, anti-poaching and narcotic interdiction.

They have been working to get the FAA’s 107 waiver. This allows them to fly UAVs BVLOS and at greater than 400 feet (133 metres) altitude. The FAA have been willing to grant such waivers for firefighting, search and rescue, incident awareness and analysis and utility and other critical infrastructure restoration.

A-techSYN

Formed in 2013, the firm has 40 employees spread across Turkey and Ireland.

Its UAS system is an endurance drone, with flight times around 6 hours, and the use of a satcom systems allows it to be really maximise upon BVLOS applications such as pipeline inspections. Inmarsat and Cobham’s systems offers several advantages, one of which is the ability to fly close to the line and also transmit data from the UAS to headquarters live.

From A-techSyn’s perspective, its UAS solution is much more cost effective than using a helicopter, faster to deploy than a helicopter, safer than manned aircraft and thus increases safety for pipeline personnel. It can also use a fleet solution therefore deploying multiple UAVs over a pipeline route, and in effect, monitoring sections of a pipeline 16 hours a day, a flight operation every two hours. The firm has quoted BOTAS (Turkish state-owned company responsible for the country’s oil and gas pipelines) for a 3-year contract.

Alpha Unmanned Systems

Founded in 2014, the company sells and operates its UAV helicopter products. Indonesia and Israel are its main markets, addressing agriculture inspection and border control surveillance verticals.

Last year, the firm launched an Advanced Engineering service, and will launch a ResponseDrone, AlphaSecurityandDefense.com and new Alpha 900 models in 2019.

One of the key benefits for Alpha’s drones using the Aviator 200 UAV is the reliability of the connection. Radio Line-of-Sight is not always possible for the circumstances its clients require the drone to be used in.

The Alpha 800 is gasoline powered and has a range of 50km via radio. Its autonomous flight range is 3 hours and has a payload of 3kg. The firm has accumulated more than 3,000 hours of flight time.

With only a limited payload capacity of 3kg, the Aviation UAV 200 takes up half the platform’s weight capabilities. Nevertheless, future models will have greater payload carrying capacities, states Alpha.

Furthermore, satcom pricing will always be more expensive than direct radio link and service operators will likely use satcom as a back-up solution where radio is not possible.

One possibility is businesses moving to a leasing model, and potentially satcom costs could be incorporated into that leasing model.

Conclusion

  • As yet, no tangible benefits for the use of a satcom were revealed. Nevertheless, clear use cases for and why UAS service providers would use a satcom terminal as a communication channel are apparent.
  • SAR and critical asset inspection/surveillance seem to be the initial starting verticals for UAS incorporating satcom communications.
  • It is unlikely we will see much demand from media and other services, such as marketing material for real estates shots. It is also unclear the demand that agriculture will present for satcom UAS.
  • One significant potential market for UAS is likely to be goods delivery; particularly in regions with less developed infrastructure, such as some African and South American nations. UAS BVLOS may present a useful opportunity to compensate for any deficits in traditional infrastructure, hence such regions could provide a fertile market and an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of UAS BVLOS.
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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4775|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/inmarsatpopup-1200x600-2.png[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] Authors: Joshua Flood and David Whelan On Thursday 30th of May 2019, we attended an Inmarsat Pop-Up UAV Lab at the firm’s Old Street headquarters. Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, provided an introduction to the changing dynamics and use cases for aerial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and noted down several significant developments of the technology. One remarkable example is Zipline’s deployment and delivery of medicines, vaccines and blood to hospital facilities in Rwanda and other African nations. Shortly after, Rupert announced Inmarsat’s new Aviator UAV 200, a dedicated L-band SATCOM system for UAS. The light 1.45kg terminal capable of delivering background data services up to 200 Kbps of data, with a 1.35 seconds latency, via Inmarsat’s BGAN coverage. Its streaming class services can deliver up to 180kbps with half HDR. The new UAV terminal will enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) communications, enabling real time control of the UAV via the satcom terminal. It’s a class 4 Swiftbroadband product with Inmarsat offering hemisphere coverage to 5 degrees elevation. Inmarsat invited several UAS entities to provide some insights into their trials and uses of the Aviator UAV 200. These companies are listed below:
  • Silent Falcon, based in New Mexico, USA
  • A-techSYN, based in Ireland and Turkey
  • Alpha Unmanned, based in Spain
  • Robot Aviation, based in Norway
  • Flylogix, UK
Before these companies presented and participated in the panel sessions, Inmarsat’s senior UAS management program provided an introduction to its new agile management approach and developing a culture of teams workings within teams rather than its traditional siloed workings. For example, its maritime staff working on maritime projects only, aviation on aviation, government on government and so forth. Mike Holdsworth and Andrew Legg provided some insight into how Inmarsat plans to develop specialist leaders to target certain areas for UAV solution. These include:
  • Joe Carr – Mining
  • Steven Tompkins – Agriculture
  • Daniel Cooper – Aid/NGO/Media
  • Mike Holdsworth – Transport
  • Gary Cosby – Energy and Oil and Gas
The presentation then delved into how the Aviator UAV 200 compared to competing IoT trends, comparing an Iridium IoT terminal which weighed 30 grams, which was capable of 0.3 kbps and had a terminal latency of 22 seconds. The Aviator also performed better than Iridium’s 9522B and Aircell Axxess terminal solutions too. Starburst, an accelerator consultancy, provided an overview of high-performance UAVs highlighting seven areas consisting of mapping and surveillance, infrastructure and energy inspection, insurance cartography, forest monitoring, ecology, search and rescue and humanitarian aid and remote delivery. In addition, the firm illustrated performance UAVs – civil against competing solutions such as satellite, High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS), general aviation, and helicopter. The primary barriers facing civil UAVs, stated by Starburst, were its expensive nature compared to satellite, limited coverage compared to other platforms, and usage limited by national regulations. The value chain is dominated by three player types:
  • UAV OEMs and OES
  • UAV providers
  • Data analytic providers
The only company noted in the value chain who is strategically attempting to cover all areas is DJI, the largest Chinese UAV OEM with its renown Phantom and to a lesser extent, Inspire, brand UAVs. Presently, the key inhibitors for UAVs are its expensive price points compared to satellite, limited yearly flight capacity (100 and 200 hours per year), limited battery technology which is prone to quickly degenerating, and restrictive regulations by aviation bodies in certain countries. However, one of its key drivers is its enhanced capabilities for certain professions, such as monitoring pipelines. Starburst predicts approximately 3,100 platform fleets will be active by 2030. In 2018, the firm believed 300 platform fleets were active. Robot Aviation Based in Norway, the firm developed UAV inspection capabilities for critical infrastructure assets, such as powerlines and/or search and rescue (SAR). The potential use of Inmarsat’s satcom systems will enable Robot Aviation to reduce mission planning, increase its UAV coverage area and also provide a more robust solution. The implementation and practical usage of the UAV is still in its early stages and as such Robot Aviation have not yet completed any missions to date. Robot Aviation are also developing and producing small to medium sized fixed wing UAVs for other commercial and military use. No further information was provided on the latter point. The firm’s primary objective is to help the Norwegian SAR organisation with locating missing people. They only have 12 helicopters, and it is very taxing to complete the number of missions required in certain parts of the year. In 2018, the Norwegian SAR organisation completed 1994 missions, 817 of which were SAR. In the UK, 2636 SAR missions took place in 2018. Outcomes and Conclusions With the introduction of Inmarsat’s satcom capabilities it will enable Robot Aviation to save time on mission planning, however, the savings on operational costs are unclear as no missions have been trialled. It is also believed safety for the end-user will be increased and there will be less operational risk for those undertaking the SAR missions. Silent Falcon Based in New Mexico, USA. The firm offers a class 2 small UAS which utilises solar electric for long endurance flights. Solar panels are located on the aircraft’s wings and top body enabling the system to fly for up to 8 hours, in optimal conditions. Relying solely on battery, the UAS’s flight time is limited to 4 hours. Its primary applications are combatting wildland fire, land management, wildlife management, search and rescue, emergency management and intelligent surveillance and reconnaissance for border control, maritime, anti-poaching and narcotic interdiction. They have been working to get the FAA’s 107 waiver. This allows them to fly UAVs BVLOS and at greater than 400 feet (133 metres) altitude. The FAA have been willing to grant such waivers for firefighting, search and rescue, incident awareness and analysis and utility and other critical infrastructure restoration. A-techSYN Formed in 2013, the firm has 40 employees spread across Turkey and Ireland. Its UAS system is an endurance drone, with flight times around 6 hours, and the use of a satcom systems allows it to be really maximise upon BVLOS applications such as pipeline inspections. Inmarsat and Cobham’s systems offers several advantages, one of which is the ability to fly close to the line and also transmit data from the UAS to headquarters live. From A-techSyn’s perspective, its UAS solution is much more cost effective than using a helicopter, faster to deploy than a helicopter, safer than manned aircraft and thus increases safety for pipeline personnel. It can also use a fleet solution therefore deploying multiple UAVs over a pipeline route, and in effect, monitoring sections of a pipeline 16 hours a day, a flight operation every two hours. The firm has quoted BOTAS (Turkish state-owned company responsible for the country’s oil and gas pipelines) for a 3-year contract. Alpha Unmanned Systems Founded in 2014, the company sells and operates its UAV helicopter products. Indonesia and Israel are its main markets, addressing agriculture inspection and border control surveillance verticals. Last year, the firm launched an Advanced Engineering service, and will launch a ResponseDrone, AlphaSecurityandDefense.com and new Alpha 900 models in 2019. One of the key benefits for Alpha’s drones using the Aviator 200 UAV is the reliability of the connection. Radio Line-of-Sight is not always possible for the circumstances its clients require the drone to be used in. The Alpha 800 is gasoline powered and has a range of 50km via radio. Its autonomous flight range is 3 hours and has a payload of 3kg. The firm has accumulated more than 3,000 hours of flight time. With only a limited payload capacity of 3kg, the Aviation UAV 200 takes up half the platform’s weight capabilities. Nevertheless, future models will have greater payload carrying capacities, states Alpha. Furthermore, satcom pricing will always be more expensive than direct radio link and service operators will likely use satcom as a back-up solution where radio is not possible. One possibility is businesses moving to a leasing model, and potentially satcom costs could be incorporated into that leasing model. Conclusion
  • As yet, no tangible benefits for the use of a satcom were revealed. Nevertheless, clear use cases for and why UAS service providers would use a satcom terminal as a communication channel are apparent.
  • SAR and critical asset inspection/surveillance seem to be the initial starting verticals for UAS incorporating satcom communications.
  • It is unlikely we will see much demand from media and other services, such as marketing material for real estates shots. It is also unclear the demand that agriculture will present for satcom UAS.
  • One significant potential market for UAS is likely to be goods delivery; particularly in regions with less developed infrastructure, such as some African and South American nations. UAS BVLOS may present a useful opportunity to compensate for any deficits in traditional infrastructure, hence such regions could provide a fertile market and an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of UAS BVLOS.
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