Denmark’s initial national UTM system goes live in Funen

The initial test version of Denmark’s new UTM platform was launched in Funen on 2 November 2020 by the Danish Minister for Transport, Benny Engelbrecht.

The initial UTM system will be trialled in Funen airspace, at the drone test centre at HCA Airport, but during 2021 the platform will gradually be deployed throughout the whole country, according to a press release. The UTM platform will be expanded with additional and increasingly advanced functions which will make it possible to carry out very complex drone operations, fully integrated with existing air traffic. Drones are currently only allowed to fly within the visual line of sight of the drone operator, and under very restrictive regulations. When the UTM platform is fully operational, it will be possible for the drone operator to fly beyond visual line of sight…The number of commercial drones in Denmark is expected to surpass 12,000 in five years, and that growth will increase further in the years beyond.”

“There is no doubt that drones are of great interest in Denmark, where alone 5,000 commercial drones are registered,” said the minister. “This number is expected to rise over the years, which is why we have great interest in developing a system that is able to coordinate the routes of the drones and ensure their simultaneous flights alongside our aircraft – with no negative implications for conventional air traffic or possible inconvenience for people in general. The use of drones has tremendous potential to benefit from, within trade, delivery of goods, and in the future, maybe even as a way of travel. I am therefore very excited to follow the development and results of the test system that Naviair has developed.”

The Mayor of Odense, Peter Rahbæk Juel, also took part in the inauguration. He emphasized the fact that Funen is an ideal location for testing and developing the drone traffic management of the future.

“Drones will revolutionize the way in which we transport people and goods,” he said. “The possibilities are huge, and we must explore and gain further insight into the potential of drones. HCA Airport and Funen are already a hub of Danish drone development, and drones – along with robots – have been highlighted as a national position of strength, with Funen as the headquarters.”

The national air navigation service provider Naviair is the architect of the UTM platform, in close collaboration with The Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority, University of Southern Denmark, HCA Airport, and UAS Denmark (Denmark’s international testing centre for drones). Several other drone-related projects and stakeholders, including the Health Drone project and the Funen Police department, are also contributing to the project.

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