Austro Control and Frequentis have launched a drone management solution to enable their safe integration into Austrian airspace. To ensure that drones continue to travel safely, Austro Control is developing an Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system with Frequentis due to be operational in 2023, says a joint press release.
The cooperation is the result of an extensive public tender process in which several leading companies from the technology sector have participated since 4Q22. The new system offers advantages for drone pilots on the one hand and for Austro Control’s air traffic controllers on the other hand. The new digital traffic management system will ensure that flight clearances for drones are handled faster, safer, and more efficiently in the future in an area where both manned and unmanned aircraft are on the move.
With Frequentis’ cloud-based UTM solution, future communication between drone pilots and Austro Control will be based on digitalisation and automation. In the first stage of the joint project, the digital transmission of drone flight plans and the release of drone flights into controlled airspace by air traffic control are on the agenda. Subsequently, in line with EU regulations currently being implemented, drone identification and warnings of restricted airspaces will be activated in the system. The most important features and services that will be implemented gradually over the next few years are:
- The intuitive application for air traffic controllers and the mobile application for drone pilots enabling the real-time establishment of airspace rules and restrictions, review of flight plans, and issue clearances for drone pilots.
- Warnings of airspaces that are closed – even at short notice.
- Digitisation of the previously manual approval of flights and thus a vast improvement in services for drone pilots.
- The traffic management system for drones also supports the Austrian economy, which wishes to establish new services on the market through the use of drones.
“Drones are among the central topics of the future for Austro Control. The possible applications in the commercial sector know hardly any limits. At the same time, there has been a veritable drone boom in the private sector for several years. These developments require a redefinition of airspace. With the traffic management system, we will make drone flying in Austria even safer in the future,” says Austro Control Managing Director Valerie Hackl.
“The new UTM drone traffic management system is paving the way for an ecosystem that meets the increasing demand for drone flights in a regulated airspace, thanks to the possibility to embed a wide range of services and the connection of additional user groups, such as blue light organisations,” explains Norbert Haslacher, CEO Frequentis. “We are pleased to implement this forward-thinking project together with our long-standing partner Austro Control.”
Austria’s Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology supports the project.
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