Switzerland “launches world first nationwide drone Network Remote Identification service”

Swiss U-Space Implementation (SUSI) members, under the coordination of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), have announced that a nationwide voluntary Network Remote Identification (NET-RID) service is now live across Switzerland.

NET-RID is a joint collaboration between AirMap, ANRA Technologies, Avision, Involi, OneSky, Orbitalize, Skyy Network, skyguide and Wing.

According to a SUSI press release:

“The service complies with the U-Space Regulation (EU) 2021/664 adopted by the European Commission, which will be enforced beginning January 2023. NET-RID ensures drone operations are safe and compliant by enabling information sharing about those operations via the internet. SUSI members are making it possible for drone operators to easily share information about their flights with airspace authorities, law enforcement, other operators and the general public.”

“With the increasing amount of drones operating in the airspace it is now important to be able to identify a drone easily. Thanks to the remote identification service we will save precious time, which is of considerable value to the Geneva police” said Philippe Couturier of the Geneva police.

With NET-RID, airspace actors in Switzerland can now see drone operators’ registration numbers and information related to their flights. Operator information is shared via the Linux Foundation’s InterUSS Platform, an open-source platform that ensures a U-Space Service Provider (USSP) has obtained all relevant data from other USSPs. This allows USSPs to share information only when necessary and enables interoperability between all participants.

According to SUSI, the NET-RID service complies with the ASTM F3411 standard, which guarantees that only necessary information is shared. This protects operator privacy while also reassuring the general public that nearby drone operations are safe and compliant. FOCA has recently launched its drone operator registry, where drone operators conducting flights in Switzerland can share their information and receive an identification number.

SUSI is a Public-Private Partnership between the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, the Swiss ANSP skyguide and thirty-one companies active in the field of drones and UTM/U-Space. SUSI was founded in December 2018 with the aim to identify, quantify, develop and effectively implement the U-Space capabilities and technologies in Switzerland.

Drone operators can register themselves on the UAS.gate platform (www.uas.gate.bazl.admin.ch).


How network RID differs from broadcast RID – OneSky

According to SUSI partner OneSky, RID technology is intended to remove the anonymity of the operator, much like a car’s license plate identifies the driver. This is done with electronic systems for aircraft because license plates and tail numbers aren’t visible from the ground and can add to a drone’s load capacity. RID solves the anonymity issue by attaching an electronic tag to a drone operation. This electronic tag is anonymous to the public but linked to a drone registration database where personal information is stored about the drone owner or operator. The Swiss FOCA has developed a drone operator registry, through which drone operators can share their information and get a unique identification number.

“Remote ID can be accomplished by two different recognized methods. The first method is using a networked computer system that receives telemetry from a drone via a ground control station (GCS) or potentially attached hardware capable of sending updates through cellular networks (Network-RID, or NET-RID). The second method uses a broadcast device to push telemetry and the drone tag over a direct RF link to a smartphone (Broadcast-RID). In the SUSI NET-RID program, identification information is shared through the interoperable, open-source InterUSS Platform: allowing U-Space Service Providers (USSP) to exchange information as needed.

“Both methods solve the problem of anonymity and protect the privacy of drone owners and operators. While broadcast-RID programs primarily benefit law enforcement and security stakeholders who must identify operators who don’t follow the rules, the Swiss U-Space NET-RID programme also offers significant safety benefits for the drone industry and the aviation community.

Broadcast RID gives only a fleeting view of a drone’s position within a defined space. OneSky co-founder Chris Kucera says that the SUSI cooperative system of NET-RID provides insight into air traffic across an entire country – insight that can help aviators adjust flight plans as necessary to improve safety and optimize operations.

“If a drone is flying through a space of 1 km, and sending out position signals one time per second, you may only get one or two signals. Broadcast solutions can’t help with safety – the range is just too short,” Kucera explains. “With a networked system, you know where the drone is 5 miles away from where you are now. With NET-RID, we always have a position track for the drone. The network enables you to see much further than just the range of a broadcast. It also allows you to understand the intent of the operator, like the flight plan.”

In addition to the SUSI NET-RID national rollout, OneSky has participated in international RID efforts including NASA TCL4, FAA UPP2, and work on the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC).


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