Sphere Drones’ HubX Drone Platform Demonstrates Resilience During Optus Outage with Elsight’s Halo Connectivity System
In a recent trial of Sphere Drones’ HubX drone platform at a remote mine in New South Wales, the drone’s connectivity remained uninterrupted during the November 8 Optus outage, showcasing the effectiveness of Elsight’s Halo technology. The Curo HubX drone platform, equipped with Elsight’s Halo system, seamlessly switched carriers when the Optus service failed, ensuring continuous connectivity.
Elsight’s Halo system, integrated into the HubX drone platform, provides a redundant multi-carrier connectivity solution. During the trial, the system seamlessly migrated from Optus to Telstra and Satellite operator Starlink, maintaining connectivity and proving the resilience of Elsight’s Halo system.
Yoav Amitai, Elsight’s Chief Executive, highlighted the significance of the trial, stating, “The Optus outage proves the critical need for Halo’s robust connectivity, making Halo the optimal solution to both common and occasional challenges when using unmanned aerial vehicles, particularly Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) in any environment.”
Elsight’s Halo system is globally utilized for various purposes, including by DroneUp in the United States, which is expanding its operations for retailing giant Walmart. The Halo system aggregates cellular and satellite connections, ensuring continuous connectivity in areas with low reception.
Sphere Drones collaborated with Elsight to integrate the complete Halo connectivity system into the HubX drone platform. The HubX drone platform, designed for autonomous data collection, operates from anywhere and improves operational safety across industries. It includes an Australian-built all-terrain trailer powered by solar panels and equipped with a connectivity platform acting as a gateway to DJI’s Drone-in-a-Box (DiaB).
The November 8 Optus outage, lasting over 14 hours and affecting more than 10 million customers, had widespread implications, including disruptions to EFTPOS machines, hospitals, Melbourne Metro Trains, and emergency services calls using the Optus network. However, the Sphere Drones’ HubX trial at a remote mine in the Hunter Valley remained unaffected, demonstrating the platform’s robust connectivity.
Paris Cockinos, CEO of Sphere Drones, explained that the HubX platform, with redundancy in critical communications lines, was connected by two Optus SIM cards, two Telstra SIM cards, and an additional satellite connection through Starlink. Despite an initial throughput of 75% to Optus due to speed and connectivity, the Telstra and Starlink services seamlessly took over during the Optus outage, ensuring zero interruption to customer requirements.
Mr. Cockinos highlighted the importance of redundancy in critical communications lines for drone operators, citing the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s requirement for constant connectivity. He anticipates that the HubX platform, initially targeted at the mining industry, will find applications in agriculture, utilities, remote infrastructure, and emergency services.
Continuous communication is crucial for Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) drone missions to navigate unexpected obstacles and changing weather conditions. Elsight’s Halo technology played a central role in US drone operator Airobotics receiving approval from the US Flight Administration Authority to fly its data drones over urban areas.
Mr. Amitai emphasized that the successful outcome of the HubX platform during the Optus outage will enhance local authorities’ confidence in the complete connection offered by Elsight’s Halo technology.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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