Germany’s real-life U-Space laboratory receives 2022 innovation award

Droniq GmbH and DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), the German air navigation service provider, have been awarded an innovation prize by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) as part of the real laboratories initiative. Real laboratories are testing grounds for innovation and government regulation in Germany. Droniq and DFS won their award for the U-Space Real Laboratory Hamburg. As part of this real laboratory, it was demonstrated for the first time how a U-Space can function in practice.

The Real Laboratory Hamburg is one of the 10 winners of this year’s innovation prize for such real laboratories. This is the second time that this award has been held. The aim of the innovation award is to make real laboratories visible, to honour innovative ideas and to encourage new real laboratories.

In their real laboratory, set up with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), Droniq and DFS demonstrated for the first time how the European Union’s U-Space concept can work in practice. From 2023, these U-Spaces, in essences airspaces for drones, can be set up in Europe. These areas will allow drones to be safely and efficiently integrated into airspace, including the interplay with manned aircraft. This will enable the regular use of drones, for example in logistics, agriculture or in the medical sector.
The findings of the real laboratory were handed over to the Ministry by Droniq and DFS as recommendations for action.  The BMDV is using these to develop a concept for the nationwide establishment of U-Space areas.

“Unmanned aviation is an important part of future air traffic,” added Arndt Schoenemann, CEO of DFS. “To integrate unmanned aviation safely into existing air traffic, we have combined our experience from manned aviation with innovative technological solutions within the framework of the real laboratory. Alongside drones, we will also experience important developments in other fields over the next few years as aviation is becoming increasingly autonomous. We are proud to be at the forefront here.”

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