back to article Buzzzz... gulp. What the heck was that? Drone air traffic app maker swallows $4.5m

Drone safety biz Altitude Angel has swept up $4.5m (£3.19m) in series-A funding, it has announced today. The main backer is the aerial-tech-loving Seraphim Space Fund. Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) and Frequentis are also throwing cheques at the biz, based in Reading, England. Altitude Angel has been working on its …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Safe drone use...

    " Altitude Angel’s technologies are key to unlocking their potential to be flown autonomously, without a human pilot"

    Can't see the point in that if you're only supposed to fly them with an operator in control with full "line of sight".

    So.... what does this app do?

    1. a well wisher

      Re: Safe drone use...

      Well I don't think the likes of Amazon will be happy if they can only perform drone deliveries when you are in LOS of their warehouse. So I'm guessing they think some of those restrictions could be dropped if their tech works and was on board the 'aircraft'

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Safe drone use...

        Well I don't think the likes of Amazon will be happy if they can only perform drone deliveries when you are in LOS of their warehouse. So I'm guessing they think some of those restrictions could be dropped if their tech works and was on board the 'aircraft'

        They can be dropped already. All they have to do is build a drone over 20kg (at which point it becomes a light aircraft) that satisfies the safety regulations that have been in place for generations such as following the rules of the air and giving way when appropriate. (which is why drones need to remain in visual contact of the operator; a narrow vision camera doesn't meet the requirements as to checking around you)

        Hopefully the drone industry won't be able to get away with deregulation. The existing rules such as "don't fly over towns so low that you can't crash land outside the boundaries of the town should your aircraft suffer a malfunction" are perfectly clear and sensible IMO.

    2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Safe drone use...

      IIRC Altitude Angel's product is meant to let drones be flown beyond LOS, as they'd need to be to fulfill Amazon's drone delivery service and the various power cable and pipeline inspection tasks that have been suggested.

      As far as I can see, their current offering is little more than a database containing permanently restricted airspace and NOTAMs plus an app and a mapping display tool that let users query the database and graphically display the results of a query.

      Beyond that, there are rather vague plans covering everything from geofencing to some sort of sense-and-avoid systems to allow multiple drones to operate in the same airspace. However, I still see no hint of how this is going to provide the collision avoidance services needed to keep drones separated from General Aviation users of Class G airspace, let alone extending it to include controlled airspace like the London CTR. By General Aviation I mean recreational pilots in light planes, microlites, gliders, balloons and, of course, police, military and emergency service aircraft - many of whom do not carry collision avoidance systems and are not in receipt of traffic advisory services. This part of Altitude Angel's offering hasn't changed since they first launched the company and still seems to be ignored by them.

  2. Commswonk Silver badge

    Er.. what?

    Altitude Angel's founder and CEO, Richard Parker, said: “Drones have the power to revolutionise business and transform lives.

    <snip>

    Mike Dimelow, chief investment officer for ADV, said: “Altitude Angel is a solution that allows unmanned flying machines to operate. By getting this right, we’re going to create new industries and business models that we can’t even imagine today.

    My Marketing Bollocks Detector has just self - ignited. Roughly how many businesses (or business "types") are set to be revolutionised? The "transformation of lives" that most concerns me is the sudden conversion of life to death following a mid - air collision.

    And if you can't even imagine "new industries and business models" then there can be no certainty that they will ever exist. "Might" should have put in an appearance somewhere.

  3. Deltics

    Get out of jail free

    "... we’re going to create new industries and business models that we can’t even imagine today"

    Which explains why we can't actually tell you what we think those models might be or even remotely look like. But we're definitely going to create them. Whatever they are. Once we can imagine them.

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