As Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems move closer to completion, countries and companies are rushing to implement solutions. Today, leading airspace intelligence platform AirMap announced a partnership with Swiss air navigation provider Skyguide to implement Europe’s first national UTM system in Switzerland, referred to as U-space.
“In a pilot phase starting in June 2018, Skyguide and AirMap plan to integrate the AirMap UTM platform with Skyguide’s infrastructure and introduce automated flight authorization in a single airspace environment. Skyguide and AirMap will also develop a roadmap for Swiss U-space that will set the stage for the deployment of a fully operational drone traffic management system in 2019 and beyond,” says the companies’ announcement.
While Switzerland is clearly not finished yet – a “fully operational drone traffic management system” implies a framework of both technology solutions and regulations that would allow for identification and de-confliction between drones, both compliant and non-compliant, and other aircraft using the airspace. But implementing the technology solutions in phases makes sense, and may move the project forward quickly.
As for what the eventual solution will look like, the announcement says:
Swiss U-space will ensure that all categories of drones and all types of missions can safely take flight in Switzerland’s airspace. Swiss U-space will include features such as:
Blockchain-based registration for users and drones;
Dynamic geofencing and instant digital airspace authorization;
Real-time traffic alerts for drone pilots and live drone telemetry for airspace managers;
Connectivity and communication between drone pilots and airspace administrators;
Other services to enable simultaneous flights in shared airspace.
“After a year of successful collaboration with AirMap, we expect that the AirMap UTM platform meets the highest standards required for a Swiss U-space,” says Klaus Meier, Chief Information Officer of skyguide. “We’re looking forward to bringing U-space capabilities to Switzerland and we are excited to drive this innovation together with AirMap.”
“With Swiss U-space, Switzerland aims to safely open the skies for drone commerce,” said Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap. “We’re proud to work with skyguide to bring AirMap UTM to Switzerland and make it possible for more pilots, more drones, and more missions to take flight in Europe.”
“The establishment of a U-space is the key to improve drone operations’ safety and to satisfy the security and privacy concerns of our citizens. In order to achieve these objectives, a seamless cooperation between all the partners involved is crucial. I am glad to see that a further important step to tackle this challenge was taken today.” said Christian Hegner, Director General of Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation.
“Swiss U-space will be a powerful catalyst for Switzerland’s drone economy. Since 2013, drone flight requests at skyguide have multiplied tenfold. Switzerland is home to a thriving community of drone companies and the world’s first autonomous drone delivery network, located in Zürich,” say the partners.
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.