Safer skies and insured drone flights for all with ALAS

Singapore-based ALAS Pte Ltd aims to be the first company in the world to offer a free drone navigation system integrated with insurance for all users.

ALAS, which stands for Airspace Localisation and Avoidance System, already has the technology to make multiple autonomous drone flights safe and is already in talks with insurance partners to work out a scheme where users can purchase inexpensive insurance packages.

The company showcased its capabilities at a regional symposium for aviation industry players and regulators in Singapore last week.

ALAS CTO Dr. Jaime Rubio Hervas described the system as “WAZE in the Sky”, referring to the popular road navigation app. Like WAZE, ALAS is able to offer real-time chats, sharing and crowd-sourcing information among users.

“ALAS is a one-stop solution for users and civil aviation regulators to safely and efficiently use the sky. The platform provides critically useful information on safety and drone regulations. It provides path optimization for autonomous systems to ensure that they reach their destination safely and efficiently, avoiding other drones and obstacles along the way. This system is both very appealing to the insurance market as well as to drone users as a risk control measure.” Dr Rubio Hervas said.

The showcase involved a presentation and a demonstration at an open field held on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific RPAS Symposium hosted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

Regulators from overseas and industry players attended the demonstration, which was the first showcase of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. The showcase received raving reviews from the attendees, some of them finding it to be the most advanced software that they had seen in the market.

“This is the region’s first showcase of a drone traffic management software that is able to complement an Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) System. What you see are seven independent drones sharing the same airspace. The seven drone operators defined their flight missions which are then evaluated by a central server. The central server looks out for any possible conflict, offering the user a safer route,” elaborated Dr Rubio Hervas.

The aim of the symposium was to bring together key regulatory and industry leaders to discuss on a range of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) issues as well as share on some best practices.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry is growing exponentially, with numbers quickly surpassing civil aviation. Apart from commercial usage and disaster relief, personal usage of unmanned aerial vehicles is growing to satisfy our day-to- day needs, with drones becoming a household tool just like a laptop, freezer or a bicycle. Forecasts have put the number of drones in the skies to be about 15 million by 2020.

“At the rate that the drone industry is growing, soon enough, our skies will be teeming with millions of drones. How do all the millions of drones operated by many different commercial or private drone operators fly safely without colliding? Hence the birth of ALAS,” explained ALAS CEO, Zala Pogorelcnik.

“After much research, we found that there isn’t a single company which offers both a drone navigation system and insurance coverage, so we decided that we would fill that gap. Although still a work-in-progress, our insurance will be fuss-free. With a simple click-through, users can purchase insurance directly via the software, making it as convenient as possible” she added.

In case of conflict occurrence along a route, a new conflict-free route is suggested. This increases safety of operations and decreases the probability of unpredictable situations. ALAS is also able to provide relevant parties with flight logs so that each incident can be reviewed and evaluated,if necessary.

Zala said ALAS has begun talks with insurance specialists and will partner with the most progressive companies that are keen to tap into this emerging market.

Other features of the software include real-time tracking, access to databases, ground control station features, accident assistance and interactive channels such as chats, information crowdsourcing and events. When asked who the software was designed for, Pogorelcnik said ALAS would be used by drone operators (commercial), civil aviation regulators, air traffic controllers, insurance companies, private companies and even members of the general public who wish to be aware of the drone traffic around them.

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