FOCA and partners launch Switzerland’s U-Space platform

The Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) has launched the Swiss U-Space Implementation (SUSI) platform with initial member partners skyguide, AirMap, Swisscom, INVOLI, Wing, senseFly and Auterion.

Under the Swiss U-Space concept the programme is divided in a centralized and a competitive environment.

“The Flight Information Management Service (FIMS) is the U-Space component that skyguide will build and manage centrally to support U-Space operations. The FIMS will provide centralization and allocation of airspace to and from relevant stakeholders, exchange relevant information with neighbouring ANSPs and other relevant stakeholders, centralize and consolidate registration information

Other functions will be provided by UTM service providers, or “USPs”. These are entities that support safe and efficient operations by providing services to the operator A USP is connected to the FIMS and acts as a communication bridge between federated U-Space actors to support operators abilities to meet some regulatory and operational requirements for UAS operations. USP services support operations planning, aircraft de-confliction, conformance monitoring, and emergency information dissemination. USPs may provide additional value-added services depending on the U-Space user needs.

According to FOCA: “The U-Space is a set of services and specific procedures enabling a safe, efficient, sustainable and secure integration of UAS into airspace. These services rely on a high level of digitalisation and automation of functions, which enable complex operations with low human workload. Harmonized standards worldwide are key for a dynamic drone sector, as legal certainty is needed to enable investment. According to the European Commission, the drone industry will represent up to 10 percent of the aviation market within the next 10 years what explains the objective of Europe to be at the forefront of setting global standards in the domain. Moreover, the European Commission identified that “the infrastructure, software and data to build a U-Space are already available. The challenge is to integrate the existing building blocks into a genuine efficient system and, at the same time, tackle safety, security and environmental concerns” (Commissioner Bulc presents plans for the creation of a European drone services market, European Commission, 2016).

“On the 28th of February 2019, Europe agreed on a set of rules and procedures to operate drones. These rules will replace the national regulatory frameworks in force today and will need to be implemented by Member States and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) until mid-2020. Subsequently, the European Commission, together with EASA have agreed to work in “close “cooperation with Member States, to develop, as a matter of urgency, an institutional, regulatory and architectural framework for a competitive U-space services market” (Drones Amsterdam Declaration, EASA, 2018).

“In Switzerland, the implementation of the different technologies required is already ongoing. This work is inspired by the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) UTM concept of operations and the work of Concept of Operation for European UTM System (CORUS) and has resulted in the current Swiss U-Space Concept of Operation (SUSCO).

“A Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) governs the interaction between the different stakeholders. Any such entity fulfilling the roles set forth therein and intending to positively contribute to the development of the Swiss U-Space can apply to join the SUSI.

“The users of the U-Space are not expected to be part of the SUSI. However, users with special needs like the police, the military, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) and others are included in a special user group under the UAS-Integration program and provide their requirements to the SUSI.“

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