NAV CANADA signs strategic agreement with Unifly for national UTM system

NAV CANADA has entered into an agreement with Unifly for the deployment of a national system that provides digital services for safely operating and managing drones in Canadian airspace.

According to a company press release:

“The system has an intuitive user interface and will enable Canadian drone pilots to access web and mobile applications to identify safe and legal airspace, plan flights, manage operations, pilots and fleet of drones. This fully digitized system makes the process of requesting authorization to fly in controlled airspace easier and faster for qualified drone pilots. The app will also benefit airlines and general aviation pilots, as it reduces the risk of accidental drone incursions.

“As Canada’s air navigation service provider, NAV CANADA has an essential role to play in developing an operating environment that supports the innovative potential of the drone industry and ensures safety across Canadian airspace. The system is designed to support current regulations for drone flights within visual line of sight. The website and mobile app will be available both in French and in English.”

The system should be up and running this year and ultimately the goal will be to enable all drone operations – even in remote areas. In the initial stage of the project, air traffic controllers will be supported by Unifly tools to approve drone flights (if required) and monitor where flights are planned and where drones are flying.

“After a thorough analysis of the market we selected Unifly based on their advanced technology and proven track record in numerous countries.  The new app is a key component of our national drone strategy and will further our dedication to air traffic safety and technological innovation in Canadian airspace,” said Mark Cooper, Senior Vice President, ANS Technology, NAV CANADA.

“As one of the most innovative and world’s safest air navigation service providers, NAV CANADA has a deep understanding of the challenges that developing and implementing complex traffic management systems bring,” said Marc Kegelaers, CEO of Unifly. “We are therefore very proud that NAV CANADA decided to partner with Unifly and strongly feel this agreement is a recognition of the value of our strategy. These past years we have not only developed our product but also organized our entire company to become the ideal partner for national air navigation service providers and Civil Aviation Authorities.

“For the average drone operator, the system we will be installing will look like an intelligent hybrid of B4UFLY – but with dynamic airspace management – LAANC and fleet Management functionality, all rolled into a single application. We expect that most – if not all – drone operators in Canada will appreciate the user-friendliness and the ease of use of the system.”

An industry source close to the project told Unmanned Airspace:

“A fully federated UTM system as proposed by the FAA is still a long way off because there are no standards yet to cover all aspects of UTM – and they won’t be available for a while Canada has taken a different approach and is implementing an architecture that can produce immediate results and that can grow into a federated system as the standards for interconnectivity mature – as has been happening in Europe.”

(Image: Alex JW Robinson/Shutterstock.com)

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