News | Jan 23, 2020

Applied Navigation, UAV startup, signs software license with Air Force

News Article Image of Applied Navigation, UAV startup, signs software license with Air Force

Capt. Anthony Castello views the Vigilant Spirit Control Station at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

U.S. Air Force photo

Applied Navigation, a Seattle-based drone software company, has signed a software license agreement for the Vigilant Spirit Control Station.

The ground control station was developed by engineers at the 711th Human Performance Wing at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio. It was designed to efficiently control multiple unmanned air vehicles, or UAV, of differing manufacture and software protocol, from a single terminal.

Founded in 2016 in Washington State, Applied Navigation provides the “Quattro” flight management system (FMS). The Quattro FMS is an industrial-grade autopilot for advanced UAV applications that includes the flight control processor, magnetometer, redundant inertial sensors, and radio link in a compact form factor. Distributed “nodes” provide Pitot data as well as additional I/O.

The license agreement with AFRL gives the company a jump-start on developing its own ground station.

“Our acquisition of the Vigilant Spirit system gives our customers a mature, well designed, and an extremely capable interface that sets them apart from their competitors,” said Michael Allen, co-founder of Applied Navigation.

The tech transfer license was signed in late 2019. It contains undisclosed fees and royalties on sales.

Brian Metzger, senior technology manager at TechLink, helped the company navigate the federal government’s licensing process, which included a license application with a commercialization plan.

“Applied Navigation has developed a solution advancing the capabilities of UAS and incorporating the Vigilant Spirit into their product line is good for commercial and defense customers,” Metzger said. “Their focus on emerging flight controls gives them the opportunity to make the industry stronger and we’re happy to support their success.”

Contact Brian Metzger at