Elsight’s Halo technology delivers unlimited range connectivity for any drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and could be the key for drone manufacturers to scale up, advisory board member Kevin Hightower says.

With extensive experience in commercial aviation, including 15 years at Lockheed Martin, Hightower joined the company’s advisory board last year and says the industry needs more drone components like Halo. 

Elsight (ASX:ELS) provides the foundation and drone companies can build it out,” he said.

“That’s where they really have their strength, with this technology around the communications that’s always connected.

“It’s something that blows everybody else out of the water, and then on top of that, they have other services built in so that drone manufacturers don’t have to go tackle them from scratch.

“With that combination, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have it on your drone.”

Helping start-ups to scale up

 Hightower points to how vital connectivity is, whether it’s a five-minute drone retail delivery or a three-hour industrial inspection.

“If you look at something like surveillance with a three-hour flight, connectivity is superbly important,” he said.

“And with Elsight’s background in the Israeli defence force, where communication is vital to people’s lives, you get this drone connectivity that can’t be replicated elsewhere.”

Usually, start-ups get stuck trying to cover all aspects of the drone, instead of using the tools already available and focusing instead on their niche market.

“That’s where Elsight comes in to save the day,” Hightower said.

“They can bring the connectivity, the regulatory requirements about remote ID or anything else that needs to happen onboard, they can put that on the Halo, and then the start-up can focus their energies on their target market and how to scale up their business.”

Regulators need to catch up with drone tech

There are a range of different regulatory requirements in different places like the US with remote ID, while Australia and Europe have their own standard, Hightower says.

“And if you’re a multinational company, you don’t want to have to go figure all that stuff out when you could just put that on the Halo chip and get those things built in,” he added.

“The technology is there, particularly for delivery and inspection use cases.

“I think regulators should start embracing some of these standards, like with the development of planes the FAA knows the component being used, but because the drone industry is so new, the regulators want to look at every little thing – they’re still learning.

“But the tech is actually there to go do all these great things, so as soon as the regulator can start catching up (they’re moving at a glacial pace) there’ll be so many new opportunities in drone development, and I’m really excited to see it.”

US FAA certification opens to door for growth

Late last year, US drone manufacturer Matternet has secured the first-ever standard type certificate issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its M2 drone – the first non-military UAS to do so.

It was a huge deal for drone players worldwide, and opens up the door for companies like Elsight to follow in their footsteps to achieve this certification and accelerate roll out of their Halo suite across the US – where the company is working with DroneUp for Walmart deliveries across six US states.

“The drone market in the US continued to grow and expand significantly under the waivers-only scenario, it is therefore reasonable to assume that the issue of the first FAA TC will be a strong catalyst for mass deployment of commercial drone services for that market moving forward,” the company said.

“The company’s ‘Design Win’ strategy has Elsight very well positioned to participate with the expected growth in the industry by having ‘Halo’ embedded as a critical component in drone design by manufacturers.”

This article was developed in collaboration with Elsight, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.