Controllers at Rennes airport now use Thales’ TopSky-UAS to manage drone traffic

Thales’s TopSky unmanned aircraft system (TopSky-UAS) traffic management system has been introduced by air traffic controllers at Rennes airport in Brittany, France, to manage drone traffic.

According to a Thales press release:

“The solution makes the flight request process more efficient, helping drone operators to gain easier access to airspace. The DSNA launched the “U-Space Together” initiative in response to the growing number of drone operations and the continuing need to ensure safe, efficient airspace management. Thales was selected to support air traffic controllers at Lille and Rennes airports in meeting these new challenges. TopSky-UAS automates analysis of the regulatory compliance of planned flight data, interfaces with France’s national register of drone operators (AlphaTango) to verify the data entered, and manages the process of reviewing flight requests in line with local protocols. This automatic analysis function enables drone operators and air traffic controllers to concentrate on the operational aspects of the flight requests, simplifying administrative procedures, reducing error rates and lightening the workload of the different groups of users.”

The system includes specific user interfaces for air navigation services and administrative services, and is interoperable with third-party solutions such as the Clearance application for drone operators. Thales and the air navigation services at Lille and Rennes will also explore tactical functions including drone tracking in flight and alert procedures if an unmanned aircraft deviates from its approved flight path.

“The TopSky – UAS solution is the result of two years of close collaboration between air traffic controllers at Lille, the local administrative services (Préfecture du Nord) and Thales. It significantly improves the handling of local drone flight requests and allows air traffic controllers at Lille to manage drone operations more efficiently in real time. Beyond the solution itself, TopSky-UAS is a starting point in the effort to meet the future challenges of U-Space,” Said Géry Grave, Head of Quality and Safety, DSNA air navigation services (Nord).

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