GE Launches AiRXOS to Improve Drone Fleet Management

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【Summary】In order to address the challenges associated with drone technology, General Electric (GE) created a subsidiary that focuses strictly on fleet management services for quadcopters.

Michael Cheng    Jul 20, 2018 10:22 AM PT
GE Launches AiRXOS to Improve Drone Fleet Management

The benefits that come with drones are numerous and extremely complicated to develop or implement. In order to address the challenges associated with the technology, General Electric (GE) created a subsidiary that focuses strictly on fleet management services for quadcopters.

Called AiRXOS, the new company already has several partnerships under its belt (more on this later). Although there are a handful of businesses developing drone fleet management products, including Google, NASA and Boeing, the startup stands out from its competitors, as it primarily services government agencies, private firms and aviation groups.

Drone Management Services

AiRXOS is based in Boston, Massachusetts (GE's Farnsworth building). The location was selected due to the strategic location of its clients and partners. During its official launch in May, the company revealed it was working with the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance to create a regional hub for the industry. In Central New York, AiRXOS is helping implement drone safety practices.

"We're addressing the complexity of integrating unmanned vehicles into the national airspace," said Ken Stewart, AiRXOS general manager.

"When you're thinking about getting a package delivered to your home by drone, there are some things that need to be solved before we can get to that point."

At the moment, the company is participating in a collaborative effort to build a communication sensor network in Ohio. The network will be installed on a 35-mile Smart Mobility Corridor in the state. Serving as foundation for large-scale connected systems, the components are designed to facilitate automotive detection and tracking information. Such data will be used to enhance emergency response services and support drone delivery programs in the future.

Recently, Drive Ohio's UAS Center invested a whopping $5.9 million to support the startup's research efforts. The startup is also backed by GE Ventures (venture capital arm of GE).

Future Goals and Partnerships

Under the watchful eye of GE, AiRXOS is set to become established in the emerging drone management sector. According to the business, its hiring efforts have been very successful. In the past year, the startup has almost tripled its number of workers. This is impressive, as the company was in stealth mode during the hiring program.

As mentioned previously, demand for AiRXOS' services stem from government organizations and law enforcement groups. It was previously selected by the US Department of Transportation (US-DOT) across various pilot programs to assist in UAV operations. So far, the startup has participated in three (out of 10) US-DOT trials.

Moreover, the business is preparing to collaborate with a handful of local transportation groups in developing drone-based operations. In San Diego, Memphis and Oklahoma, AiRXOS will help organizations build a management system for quadcopter fleets overseeing road traffic and offer solutions for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) UAV flights.

"AiRXOS is addressing the rapid changes in autonomous vehicle technology, advanced operations, and in the regulatory environment," explained Alan Caslavka, president of Avionics at GE Aviation.

"We're excited for AiRXOS to help set the standard for autonomous and manned aerial vehicles to share the sky safely."

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