Press Releases UTM

skyguide and its project partners announce first live demonstration in Europe of U-space capabilities

Today, skyguide and its project partners announced the successful completion of Europe’s first live demonstration of U-space capabilities. Championed by the European Commission, SESAR, and EASA, U-space is the digital infrastructure, services, and procedures that will support safe, efficient, and secure access to European airspace for millions of drones.

The project partners – which included skyguide, AirMap, SITAONAIR, senseFly and PX4 – demonstrated e-registration and e-identification, integration with air traffic control, flight planning and airspace authorization, live tracking/telemetry, and dynamic situational awareness during three live missions flown by senseFly’s albris and eBee Plus drones and drones with preprogrammed PX4 flight controller.

The European Commission expects that the global marketplace for drone services will create more than EUR 10 billion in economic impact each year by 2035, and more than EUR 15 billion each year by 2050. U-space will pave the way for the growing drone economy, enabling situational awareness for drone operators and data exchange between drones and other stakeholders, law enforcement, and airspace managers.

The September 14th event was the region’s first real-time demonstration of U1 (e-registration, e-identification, and geofencing) and U2 (flight planning, flight approval, and dynamic airspace awareness) U-space capabilities – the first two of four planned milestones in the evolution of Uspace.

Currently, U1 capabilities are expected to be operational in 2019. This demonstration marks an important achievement on the road to U-space, proving that U1 and U2 services can be
deployed immediately in support of Europe’s growing drone ecosystem.

During the demonstration, the participants exhibited:

  • Drone registration with a blockchain-based database managed by SITAONAIR
  • Authentication of identifying information shared by senseFly by AirMap against the
    SITAONAIR registration database
  • Integration with air traffic control & digital airspace approval from skyguide through
    the AirMap platform
  • Flight planning and real-time drone telemetry data sent by senseFly drones,
    visualized on AirMap U-space dashboard, and displayed on senseFly’s ground control

Representatives from the European aviation and drone community, the director of the Federal Office of Civil Aviation, Christian Hegner, as well as representatives from the Geneva State Chancellery for Security and Economy attended the demonstration.

“We see ourselves as an enabler to the drone industry. The U-space can only develop successfully if the different players collaborate efficiently together and embrace innovation. The demonstrator shows that this is possible. I look forward to us taking the next steps together as soon as possible.” said Alex Bristol, CEO of skyguide.

“This is an important step forward for the entire drone ecosystem, in Europe and beyond,” said Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap. “U-space will make it possible for millions of drones and countless commercial drone enterprises to take flight in European skies. We’re proud to help pave the way for U-space with skyguide, SITAONAIR, senseFly, and PX4 – part of our worldwide efforts to open more airspace for drones.”

Following the success of the demonstration, skyguide and the project partners are evaluating opportunities to extend the partnership beyond the demonstration.

About the Demonstration Participants

skyguide provides air navigation services for Switzerland and certain adjacent parts of neighbouring countries. With its 1500 employees at 14 locations in Switzerland, the company guides some 1.2 million civil and military flights a year safely and efficiently through Europe’s busiest airspace.

AirMap is an airspace management platform for drones. Millions of drones, hundreds of drone manufacturers and developers, and hundreds of airspace managers and stakeholders rely on AirMap’s airspace intelligence and services to fly safely and communicate and exchange information with others in low-altitude airspace.

SITAONAIR is the air travel industry’s trusted connected aircraft service expert. With its unrivalled industry-backed heritage, SITAONAIR empowers 400+ airlines and 16,000+ aircraft to navigate connectivity’s complexity, and unlock connected aircraft value. SITAONAIR is a subsidiary of the SITA Group.

senseFly, the leading producer of mapping drones, believes in using technology to make work safer and more efficient. senseFly’s proven drone solutions simplify the collection and analysis of geospatial data, allowing professionals in surveying, agriculture, engineering and humanitarian aid to make better decisions, faster.

PX4 is an open-source, open-hardware autopilot that provides guidance, navigation, and control algorithms for autonomous fixed wing, multirotor and VTOL airframes, along with estimators for attitude and position. PX4 is part of the Linux Foundation DroneCode project and is also supported by the Computer Vision and Geometry Lab of ETH Zurich and by numerous industry partners. Companies like Yuneec, Qualcomm, Sony, and GoPro use PX4 as their drone autopilot.

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