Germany funds U-space test environment in Port of Hamburg and surrounding airspace

A EUR492,000 grant issued by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is funding the establishment of Germany’s first U-Space test environment operated by air navigation service provider DFS and its subsidiary Droniq. The outcome will be the first field test laboratory for drones in the airspace above the Port of Hamburg and western region of Moorburg.

About the project: In the U-Space test laboratory in the airspace above the Port of Hamburg will enable cooperative and coordinated flight operations between unmanned and manned aviation for the first time in Germany. In the test area with a size of around ten square kilometers, the project partners will test in practice how drones can be safely integrated into existing airspace structures.

In seven months of test operation, various acceptance flights will take place, in which drone flights of different complexities are tested inside and outside the range of vision up to an altitude of 150 meters.

Various security-relevant procedures are used, namely:

  • automated communication with and between drones and other air traffic participants,
  • the organization of the airspace,
  • the registration of aircraft and their users,
  • automated flight permits for drones as well
  • the provision of a complete air situation picture with manned and unmanned air traffic in real time.

With the help of the tests, information on system development and the safe and intelligent interaction and integration of manned and unmanned air traffic management systems (UTM and ATM ) should be obtained in practice. Germany is thus strengthening its role as a leading aerospace and innovation location in Europe. The results should serve as a blueprint for the establishment of regular drone airspaces in Germany. They will also be incorporated into the development of a national U-Space regulation, with which the new EU rules for the introduction of U-Spaces will be implemented in due time by 2023.

Project partners: Droniq GmbH , DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH , the Hamburg Authority for Economy and Innovation, Hamburg Port Authority AöR (HPA), HHLA Sky GmbH , Hamburg Aviation and the consortium of the UDVeo project funded by the BMVI.

Drone Action Plan: Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer presented the Federal Government’s action plan for unmanned aviation systems and innovative aviation concepts on May 13, 2020. The action plan is a strategic guide for drone policy for the coming years. It contains clear goals with a view to economic and security-related aspects, practical application, protection of personal data, privacy and environmental protection.

Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer said: “Innovative, intelligent, networked – this is the future for drones in Germany. We are now starting Germany’s first test field for a drone airspace in Hamburg and creating the conditions for the transport system of the future. In the U-Space real -world laboratory, we are testing in practice how drones and, in the future, air taxis can be safely and intelligently integrated into the airspace. Drones are a clean, fast and smart mobility solution, especially for logistics, as support for rescue workers or for supplying rural areas. With the U-Space real -world laboratory, we are bringing drone innovations Made in Germany out of the niche and into the air.”

Arndt Schoenemann, CEO of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH said: “With our in-house development of the UTM , a drone transport system, we are already very well positioned internationally. It forms the basis for the integration of the drone airspace and thus enables fast and uncomplicated drone deployments. With the project in Hamburg, we are taking an important step in the direction of digital aviation, combined with proven security.”

(Image: Port of Hamburg,

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