Drone management software startup Kittyhawk is working with the U.S. federal government to redesign an app that helps drone pilots understand where they’re legally allowed to fly their drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed a partnership deal with Kittyhawk to redesign the B4UFly app earlier this month. The new app for determining whether you’re compliant with federal law will be available for Android and iOS smartphones in Q2 2019.
Drones behaving badly have made the news regularly in recent months, with unmanned aerial vehicles interrupting airplane traffic at airports in London, Dublin, Dubai, and Newark, New Jersey. Earlier this month, the FAA ordered that drones display registration numbers on their exterior, like the kinds that label small planes.
Kittyhawk’s mobile solution has been used to carry out 500,000 flights in the U.S. since the company was founded in 2015.
“We want to provide drone pilots with the best tools possible so they fly safely and responsibly,” FAA administrator Dan Elwell said in a statement shared with VentureBeat. “As drone sales increase and our nation’s airspace becomes busier and more complex, it’s vital that we work smarter and partner with the private sector to develop innovative products that advance safety.”
B4UFly will utilize Dynamic Airspace, color-coded software Kittyhawk currently provides to enterprise customers for drone management that factors in FAA data, unmanned aircraft system (UAS) maps, and weather.
Last fall, Kittyhawk was allowed into the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program, which lets it grant commercial operators the ability to fly in controlled airspace, like near airports. As part of the program, Kittyhawk and other LAANC program participants share data with the FAA.
Investors in Kittyhawk include Boeing’s HorizonX Ventures and Travelers, which plans to use more drones to inspect home and property insurance claims.