Fortem Unifly Airmap UTM

AirMap partner Fortem has another new partner, and it’s AirMap’s competitor

Airspace awareness, safety and security Fortem Technologies may have recently announced a partnership with software startup AirMap, but the company on Monday announced another partnership. This one is with AirMap’s competitor.

Utah-based drone awareness company Fortem Technologies announced a partnership with unmanned traffic management (UTM) provider Unifly. The two will collaborate to develop a joint airspace safety and security solution intended to build out UTM and U-space architectures. Those products would be intended to be used by public safety officers, military groups and other government agencies to secure airspace around critical infrastructure, airports, stadiums, public venues and more.

Both companies are currently working on ways to secure airspaces from rogue drones flying in places they shouldn’t, such as the Gatwick airport incident which was suspected by some to have been caused by a drone.

The Unifly BLIP

Unifly makes a sensor called the BLIP (Broadcast Location and Identity Platform), which was designed to detect position, altitude, temperature, pressure, speed and direction, when placed directly on a drone. Unifly says that information can be accessed in real-time by authorities, such as police officers or government organizations.

The Fortem SkyDome

Fortem, meanwhile, designed an AI data platform called SkyDome, to create a digitized version of the airspace above and around infrastructure, venues, events and cities. That digitized airspace can spot unapproved drones. The Fortem SkyDome is already being tested by the Utah Department of Transportation at Salt Lake City Airport.

The new partnership would likely lead to a hybrid of the two products.

“The new joint solution will combine and leverage the capabilities offered by these solutions,” according to a news release.

Ultimately, the products are part of a growing line of work that is intended to set up a future where drones are flying everywhere (including delivering packages to your doorstep), rather than just rural areas where you typically find them now.

“We are one step closer to the realization of a world where every bit of land is an airport and every business and home is its own airline,” said Fortem Technologies CEO Timothy Bean.

But whether one company ends up being the dominant authority in managing air traffic routes between homes and businesses remains to be seem. A number of companies (both startups and big tech players) are working on their own UTM models.

An AirMap spokesperson said that the company views Unify as one of their competitors. Other competitors to Unify and AirMap include Altitude Angel and Intel-funded Delair.

A spokesperson for Fortem said that it doesn’t necessarily mean the companies are working against each other.

“Fortem’s goal is to collaborate with several vendors, all with the same end goal of enabling a drone world,” according to a statement from Fortem.

All three companies — AirMap, Unifly and Fortem — are all among the companies participating in the FAA’s drone pilot program, formally called the UAS Integration Pilot Program.

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