Israel to test compatibility of commercial drone delivery operations within an existing UTM/ATM system

Between March 21 and April 1 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Transport will conduct trials of drone delivery companies to understand how these might work within a UTM system “and carry out various scenarios that will simulate, as much as possible, the descriptions of expected activities for future routine and emergency operations.” Israel has launched a call for proposals to Israeli companies for demonstrating drone technologies in managed UAS traffic management (UTM) airspace.

The tender is unusual in that the onus will be on commercial drone operators to demonstrate their ability to work within a UTM system and equip their drones and management systems with remote ID and communications equipment so they can be integrated with an existing UTM/ATM network.

According to the tender, the programme is intended to demonstrate the pre-product capabilities at a high level of maturity TRL7-8 and without research and development content. “Participating companies will share information with the ATC units (IAF Area ATC units/ACC and Ben Gurion Airport) and demonstrate their ability to intervene and carry out instructions of the ATC units. They must also show how they will share information with other companies that will participate in the demonstrations and communicate beyond visual line of sight based on LTE cellular networks.

“Preference will be given to solutions with 5G capabilities that will be added to demonstrations as the deployment progresses across Israel….Each aircraft will be identified in accordance with the standard or in accordance with the documents of the Ayalon Highways (Air C&C – Smart Airspace documents) – all drones that will participate in the program must be uniquely identified by standard technological means in order to enable identification and distinction between them for the purposes of command, control and law enforcement. It is required to display the existence and location of all aircrafts in all the required places, including IAF Area ATC units/ACC/ Ben Gurion Airport/Homeland Security/ Police, etc.

The trials are being organised by Israel’s Ministry of Transport (MOT), Ayalon Highways Co LTD, the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), C4IR Israel at the Israel Innovation Authority and the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative. The trails target “Israeli technology companies in the fields of drone operation, drone control and monitoring, as well as technologies designed to locate and manage drone networks intended for operation in urban environment. The programs must promote or provide an infrastructure for implementation and application of innovative technologies for the operation of different types of drones types of drones as well as different “air operator companies ” in crowded urban quarters.”

Programme goals and ambitions

The programme’s goals are to support:

·       Testing and operational demonstration of heterogeneous drone networks that coexist in crowded urban quarters.

·       Development and implementation of innovative technologies and operational concepts for the promotion and creation of air mobility networks using drones, which will improve the transportation situation and advance the knowledge-intensive Israeli industry.

·       Streamlining and improving transportation in Israel and around the world.

·       Creation and growth of entire sustainable companies in Israel by means of promoting innovative technological solutions.

“One of the criteria in selecting programs will be the expected impact the programme will have on streamlining and improving transportation in Israel, and in particular on decreasing congestion, reducing road accidents and decreasing the use of petroleum for transportation. The impact of the program will be examined, among other things, in accordance with its ability of provide:

·       Contribution to the principles of coexistence of multiple drones in crowded urban quarters.

·       Ability to move commercial cargo – efficiently and in a short time (maximum utilization of the airspace).

·       Transportation solutions without physical human contact at a time of social distancing.

·       Application based on international standards that are widely used in the US or in Europe (U-SPACE / UTM).

·       Development of above-people flight capabilities and BVLOS flight capabilities (including addressing the GNSS disruptions issue).

·       Specifically for participants engaged in command and control:

·       Ability to monitor the activity of all drones in the airspace – in particular: Drones from different companies that are part of the programme and drones that are not part of the program.

·       Issuing alerts on “possible violations of safety margins” – i.e. deconfliction will be an advantage.

·       Locating cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft at the “very low level VLL” airspace – an advantage

For more information

(Image: Luciano Santandreu /

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