Geo Week News

July 27, 2015

Sharper Shape has developed the future of drone communications: Sharper 4x4

Sharper Shape Image

Helsinki, Finland, July 22, 2015 – Sharper Shape, the world leading supplier of UAV based asset management solutions for infrastructure assets, announced today the company’s advanced solution for command and control of drones using multiple 4G cellular networks.

“The reliability and availability of command and control (C2) links for drones is an essential safety matter. The remote pilots need to be continuously able to monitor the drone and take any necessary actions to avoid danger. Traditionally the communication has been achieved by direct radio link between the base station and the drone for short distances. For longer distances, satellite communication has been an option. The shortcoming of direct radio link is the range, which may be limited to a few miles or maximum tens of miles. Satellite communication is expensive, bandwidth limited, and suffers from varying latency. Sharper 4×4 solution overcomes all these challenges, and provides a universal solution for the most demanding needs of drone remote control”, said Tero Heinonen, the founder of Sharper Shape.

The solution relies on regular cellular networks, leveraging the infrastructure which has already been invested. This will enable the most cost-efficient solution to a wide coverage communication network, as the needed infrastructure already exist. Using only a single 3G/4G communication channel would be very risky, as a single communication path may be fail, causing loss of control of aircraft, a risk that cannot be accepted. In Sharper 4×4 the four simultaneous 4G (or 3G) connections in a fully redundant configuration with auto-failover and load-balancing enables the reliable communications. The system automatically uses the best channels for communication, ensuring safe operations.

Besides the command and control, the bandwidth also allows for transmission of real-time 4k video to ground or remote pilots. This opens up many new applications where real-time high accuracy video is necessary for example disaster recovery, law enforcement, and search and rescue.

The communication is fully end-to-end encrypted, using military grade AES 256 algorithm, which allows safe communication and is resilient against hacking and signal intelligence.

The solution is already in operative use in Finland with four cellular operators signed up and the service is being used regularly. The same solution can be used in any country or region subject to regulatory permits. For the most critical operations, such as peace keeping missions, a dedicated proprietary 4G or 5G network can be also used.

“Sharper Shape is proud to continue leading the civilian drone application market, and Sharper 4×4 is yet another proof of the technology maturity for the most demanding Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) operations”, continued Tero Heinonen.

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