FAA development partner Kittyhawk is releasing a new version of the B4UFLY app. The newest version adds localized advisories and crowdsourcing for the U.S. drone airspace.
“Coinciding with the FAA’s Drone Safety Awareness Week, Kittyhawk is releasing a new update to B4UFLY that adds a new layer of localized advisories with the ability for the largest community of drone pilots and airspace stakeholders to impact safe and compliant drone flights,” says a press release.
B4UFLY is a successful example of a public private partnership for drone regulation infrastructure. B4UFLY is a free airspace intelligence app, sponsored by the FAA but developed and maintained by drone platform developers Kittyhawk.io. Since the apps introduction, Kittyhawk has released several updates improving functionality.
With this new version of B4UFLY, Kittyhawk is addressing a major challenge for drone operators: local regulations. “Where to safely fly your drone needs to account for your takeoff, landing, and complete area of operations,” says the press release. “Over the last year, one of the biggest areas of feedback we’ve received has centered around “missing” advisories. Drone pilots are seeking out information — both airspace and local ground rules — to understand where they should operate…. With today’s update, Kittyhawk is addressing this in two ways — crowdsourcing advisories from users combined with publishing new authoritative local data sources.”
Kittyhawk started building local datasets in their hometown, San Francisco: a reasonable fascimile for other major urban areas. “San Francisco is a top 20 city in terms of population but ranks in the top 5 of most active cities in B4UFLY,” says the release. “Educating drone pilots of not only airspace regulations but also local advisories and requirements for flight has been a challenge for the city.”
“San Francisco is a unique, dense urban environment with a robust drone community. We are constantly on the lookout for new innovations that can help improve our community, and also provide new safeguards for emerging technologies like drones. Making our rules easier to find, use and access in the most widely used drone safety app is a major enhancement to our outreach efforts. Working with Kittyhawk and sharing our information with B4UFLY is an exciting opportunity to get what everyone wants, safe, and responsible drone flights,” said Matthias Jaime, Director, Committee on Information Technology, SF.Gov.
It’s challenging to get local data from all over the country – and crowdsourcing offers an efficient and effective way for pilots to have accurate information. With more than 6.5 million airspace safety searches accross all 50 states, Kittyhawk is continuing to add to their “authoritative database.”
“Simply download the app and submit your areas and advisories for review, or feel free to contact us directly at [email protected]. We’re dedicated to impacting the safety of the airspace and providing the ultimate resource to understand complete situational awareness,” says the release.