REMOTE PILOT UAV COMMUNICATIONS
Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight UAV & Remote Pilot Communications
Leveraging SyTech RADIUS and the Iridium Satellite Network for Beyond-Line-of-Sight Radio Communications.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become an integral part of many industries, including agriculture, construction, and photography. However, for commercial UAVs to comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, they must offer a means of communication with ATC and registered aircraft while airborne. Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) radio communications provide a solution to this challenge. SyTech RADIUS and the Iridium Satellite Network have enabled UAV operators to comply with FAA regulations while operating from any location with an IP connection.
The SyTech RADIUS nPoint RoIP over Satellite Communications
The SyTech RADIUS solution enables remote pilots to communicate via radio-over-IP to the airborne radio installed on the UAV. The communications link allows the remote pilot to communicate with ground control while complying the FAA frequency management. The encompassing network creates a Radio-over-IP (ROIP) environment unbound by distance, platform, or location.
The RADIUS Solutions incorporates four key subsystems: (1) the Radius Distribution Service, (2) the Radius Client Program for Windows, (3) the satellite link, and (4) the Radius nPoint RoIP gateway connected to the aircraft’s radio.
The Radius Distribution Service
The Radius Distribution Service (DS) functions as the operating system for the encompassing RoIP network. Built from the Linux kernel and ARM technology, Radius DS form factors including a (1) Radius DS server node or gateway, (2) a dedicated Linux server, (3) or an instance of the Radius DS software accessible from the cloud. The Radius DS manages all nets, users, and status messages operating throughout the Radius network.
The Radius Client
The Radius Client functions as the graphical user interface for the Radius system. The Radius Client offers easy-to-use features designed for radio-over-IP communications as well as advanced features for multi-operator dispatch and command and control.
The Radius Client features remote radio control for select radio models. The Radius Virtual Control Head (VCH) enables virtual radio control features such as channel selection, zone selection, and other available functions of the radio.
The Radius Client provides a seamless communication experience for remote pilots, enabling them to operate UAVs from any location with an IP connection.
The Iridium Satellite Network
The Iridium Satellite Network provides global coverage, enabling UAV operators to communicate with their aircraft from anywhere in the world. The network utilizes a constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites, providing reliable and low-latency communications.
The SyTech RADIUS solution leverages the Iridium Satellite Network to provide BLOS communications between the ground station pilot and the airborne VHF radio. The network provides a reliable and secure communication channel, ensuring compliance with FAA regulations.
Existing deployments of the BLOS Radius solution allows for 22 kbps / 88 kbps for up and downlink. SyTech developed the Radius solution to operate with clear audio down with a utilization of 9.6 kbps per audio stream.
The Radius nPoint
The Radius nPoint functions analog-to-digital radio interface gateway installed on the aircraft. The Radius nPoint physically connects to the airborne radio’s auxiliary port, allowing for two-way transmit and receive capabilities. The nPoint runs on 5 volts DC, with a power draw of 300mA - 600mA. Its small size and low power requirements make it ideal for use in UAVs.
The nPoint receives radio audio and digitizes the reception. The nPoint utilizes an onboard Linux processor to compress the audio to 9.6 kbps. Audio is packaged as UDP, reducing bandwidth requirements over the satellite link. The audio is then transported through the aircraft modem, the satellite network, and down to the RADIUS DS and Radius Client. SyTech property methodology insures clear, smooth audio at the operator locations in both transmit and receive from the remote pilot to the aircraft and from ATC to the remote pilot.
The Radius nPoint offers the ability to communicate via RS-232, RS-485, or USB to the onboard radios, enabling remote radio control capabilities from the Radius Client. The resulting configuration allows the remote pilot to change frequencies as directed by ground control.
The SyTech RADIUS solution provides UAV operators with a means of complying with FAA regulations while operating from any location with an IP connection. The solution leverages the Iridium Satellite Network, providing global coverage while enabling operators to communicate with their aircraft from anywhere in the world.