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GE Aviation and Auterion develop All-in-one Platform for Commercial Drones

By Enterprise Technology Review | Friday, May 03, 2019

GE Aviation recently signed an agreement with Auterion, kick-starting the integration of the Auterion Enterprise PX4 operating system with GE Aviation’s Unmanned Aircraft System avionics platform. The proposed project will provide a comprehensive hardware and software solution for drone manufacturers and operators looking to adopt scaled commercial drone operations.

The full stack solution will include airborne autopilot and application computing hardware, flight management, and safety management. GE Aviation has sponsored the avionics hardware, flight management, application computing, and integration into airframes. Enterprise PX4, the operating system running on the drones, the cloud, and on the ground station, and the additional software are developed by Auterion.

The companies have implemented the core architecture of the proposed product intending to support developers through global open software standards, and at the same time, maintaining an independent safety controller. It is designed for long-term flexibility and reliability to enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations within complex and obstacle-ridden airspace environments.

The flight testing of the hardware and software platform was conducted over three weeks at Reno-Stead airport in Reno, Nevada. It demonstrated a smooth and seamless integration of ground, cloud, and airborne components, paving the way for advanced operations of autonomous and unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Auterion’s open standards legacy with the developer community proved foundational in building the scalable and sustainable solution for commercial drones. It will significantly reduce the obstacles faced by commercial cargo drones and inspection drones in manned airspace and urban regions.

The collaboration between the two companies leverages the experience of GE Aviation in avionics and UAS and the expertise of Auterion in developing software for autonomous systems in the open source community. Auterion’s platform is equipped with core airborne software framework, which includes flight peripherals, , data networking, camera integrations, precision navigation, and compliance with traffic management.

The Auterion software for drones was developed with the assistance from the open source community on top of the open source robotics software projects—PX4 and ROS2. It is primarily designed to aid the commercial drone original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and service providers. 

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