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Staff Spotlight: George Ridd

Meet George Ridd – AirShare Product Manager, based at Airways International’s offices in Christchurch, New Zealand. In this Q&A with George, he shares a little about his role, and how AirShare is continuing to evolve to deliver value for our customers and meet the needs of the rapidly changing UTM industry.

What is AirShare?

AirShare is an uncrewed traffic management (UTM) system built to support the acceleration of uncrewed aviation by creating an environment that enables the UTM ecosystem to grow and flourish.

We achieve this through providing services based on information sourced from a range of system integrations and other data sources to create a single source of the truth about airspace and UA operations. This information is then made accessible to stakeholders, enabling them to use the services and consume the data they require to deliver services and/or manage risk.

What is your role as AirShare Product Manager?

Building a product that delivers value to the customer by supporting safe, integrated airspace management. In my role as product manager this means:

  • Maximising resources by deploying them on tasks that add real value to AirShare
  • Ensuring that AirShare stays focused on solving user problems
  • Effectively managing the product backlog
  • Keeping the Product team aligned on shared priorities
  • Building trust with stakeholders who can see that you’re creating real value for them.
What do you think are the biggest challenges in the UTM industry?

It’s clear that the technology is rapidly outpacing regulations. This, along with standards development presents a barrier to realising the potential of the technology. Converting some of the promising industry-led trials to operational models also poses a challenge.

Specifically relating to UTM, a key challenge is developing a scalable solution that can accommodate volumes of airspace traffic that is anticipated to well exceed the design of traditional ATM systems.

What do you think are the biggest innovations in the UTM industry?

Within the UTM industry there are a number of promising innovations and trials of new technologies happening. Some favourite developments of mine are the digital notifications of launches and landings, a common operating picture showing both crewed and uncrewed aviation and the increased situational awareness that brings.

There have also been some interesting innovations in the drone detection space and how that data could be integrated into a UTM solution. We at AirShare are ready to integrate with that data to show airspace managers which detected targets are truly uncooperative versus those that have authorisation to operate.

What is AirShare doing to align with developments around the world?

Our team is closing watching the emerging regulations, standards and industry activity around the world, and we are broadly following the U-Space roadmap concepts in our development work.

We’re really looking forward to working with other airspace managers and regulators in New Zealand and globally as we continue to evolve AirShare to meet industry needs.

UAM drone