Innovative drone hardware and systems company FIXAR has unveiled an advanced flight capability for its fixed-wing 007 UAVs, introducing the Surface Follow automated navigation feature. This capability enables the drone to identify and circumvent low-altitude obstacles often overlooked by many satellite maps.
Targeting a Broad User Base
The Surface Follow feature is made available to enterprise, government agencies, first responders, and defense operators primarily utilizing FIXAR’s 007 drones. It improves the navigational efficacy and security of the drones during autonomous and semi-automatic flights by identifying and avoiding obstacles threatening low above-ground level (AGL) missions. The feature is expected to be indispensable during long-range, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) missions, a significant use case for FIXAR’s customers.
Compensating for Satellite Limitations
FIXAR integrated the Surface Follow feature to address the limitation of many satellite-generated flight maps in detailing low AGL landmarks such as trees, buildings, and other structures. This feature continually scans areas during the autonomous or semi-automatic operation of 007 drones and maneuvers to avoid detected obstacles at altitudes as low as 50 meters. The risks associated with low AGL hazards are heightened during drone missions in diverse terrains, urban areas, and during operations above populated areas.
Automated Safety Enhancement
The Surface Follow feature, described as an automated safety enhancement, integrates simplified navigation from height calculations into all flight stages and is available via a firmware update. It assures effective obstacle avoidance by 007 drones and notifies users of nearby ground hazards through its xGroundControl operating system. FIXAR emphasizes that the drone prioritizes safety, automatically increasing altitude to avoid obstacles and alerts users via the xGroundControl software interface.
Enhanced Performance and Durability
This addition aligns with FIXAR’s objective to extend the performance and operational capabilities of its drones and to meet the varying needs of its clientele including enterprises, government agencies, and defense operators. The FIXAR 007 showcases significant resilience to adverse weather conditions and high-altitude operation, and it has proven capable of 60 kilometers of flight, carrying a two kg payload for up to an hour at speeds of 20 m/s, which is touted as 30% faster than its competitors.
Regulatory Approval and Upcoming Developments
FIXAR has received regulatory approval for the 007 in several countries including the US, Canada, Israel, Japan, and South Africa, with additional BVLOS authorization in select markets. The company is gearing up for the final testing and debut of its new 025 drone early next year, designed to transport up to 10 kg of payload on missions spanning up to 300 km.