The three month trial in the Canterbury and Queenstown regions of New Zealand will provide low altitude authorization and notification capabilities (LAANC) to New Zealand. “Using AirMap’s free iOS and Android apps, drone operators can request digital airspace and public land owner approvals required by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority,” says an AirMap announcement. “…Commercial and recreational drone operators are invited to take part in the trial, which is currently underway and will significantly simplify and streamline the authorization process.”
“Airspace managers participating in the trial are using the AirMap airspace management dashboard to provide digital flight authorizations and share real-time updates about the location of events, community gatherings, emergencies, and other areas to avoid. This information is delivered immediately to the AirMap app to enable safer flights and more comprehensive situational awareness.”
“Drone flights in New Zealand are growing exponentially. Over the past three years, weekly recorded drone flights in the country’s controlled airspace have increased 20-fold. As drones take off in increasing numbers, unmanned traffic management (UTM) technology will allow them to integrate safely with New Zealand’s national airspace system,” says AirMap.
The trial is important for both New Zealand and for AirMap and regulators around the globe. As one of only three providers currently authorized to test the LAANC system for the FAA (the others are currently Skyward and Project Wing,) AirMap has wasted no time in partnering with international companies to introduce the system around the world. This new trial comes upon the heels of AirMap’s announcement of a partnership with Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten. AirMap’s international partnerships provide wider use cases for the system and could help regulators in the US and other countries deploy LAANC more quickly, driving drone integration forward.
“The trial is an important step in investigating how Airways could develop a nationwide UTM system that safely integrates UAVs into New Zealand’s wider air traffic control network,” said Airways Chief Executive Graeme Sumner. “There is potential for New Zealand to become a test-bed for the UAV industry through the implementation of a system that supports growth and development in a safe manner.”
“We’re very excited to help New Zealand’s drone pilots more easily and safely access the airspace,” said Ben Marcus, AirMap CEO. “With the world watching, Airways and AirMap are demonstrating how UTM technologies can safely open the skies to high-scale drone operations, today.”
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 a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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