Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Selected companies to perform a demonstration in a first of its kind pilot in which ~ 20 drones from five different companies will simultaneously fly in a managed urban airspace

5 startups and companies will receive a total of ~ 6 million NIS in grants to perform pilots demonstrating drone technologies in a managed airspace.

Aharon Aharon, CEO Israel Innovation Authority: “Operating drones in a managed urban airspace is one of the most significant challenges prior to establishing regulation and integration of autonomous drones in Israel’s airspace. Implementation of this pilot program, while demonstrating the operation of various drones by a number of different operators in the same airspace, marks the beginning of a new age in Israel’s smart transportation. From delivery of medicines, tests and medical equipment, on to agricultural spraying and postal services or food delivery to the customer’s home, this constitute a revolution in transportation as we know it. Together with our different partners, the acceleration of the ecosystem will allow Israel to lead the new age on a global level.”

Ministry of Transportation CEO, Offer Malka: “Our age is characterized by rapid development in all transportation fields that continue to go further than anything we could imagine. In the next few years drones will become a part of our daily lives while their use will expend even further. As an entity trusted with maintaining Israel’s airspace, it is our task to promote advanced technologies that will contribute to the betterment of the economy and our lives – while ensuring that they will be applied in a safe and responsible manner, via smart regulation that faces new and unfamiliar challenges.”

Itamar Ben Meir, CEO Ayalon Highways: “Ayalon Highways is proud to join government entities in leading the use of innovative solutions that within the next few years will revolutionize the Israeli transportation map. NAAMA initiative is a great opportunity to incorporate high-tech projects for the development and promotion of drone use to decrease traffic congestion and encourage growth.”

The Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the Israel Innovation Authority in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Transportation and the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative at the Prime Minister’s Office, invited Israeli drone technology companies to apply for a grant to participate in a pilot program to demonstrate flight in managed airspace. Following a rigorous selection process by teams comprised of the Authority’s technological evaluators and representatives of the Ministry of Transportations, the Authority’s research committee selected the companies and startups. The selected companies were approved to conduct a pilot project and to receive grants of up to 50% or the project’s cost.

The RFP was designed to support pilot programs that will demonstrate the operational capabilities of various drones operated by different companies in the same managed airspace. The main purpose of this pilot program is to improve the landscape of transportation options in Israel and develop the ecosystem for urban uses of drones. It was created under the operation of the NAAMA project (Hebrew acronym for: Urban Air Mobility) that is operated jointly by the Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Transportation, Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) – the regulator, Ayalon Highways, and Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The RFPs. goal is for the companies to demonstrate:

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

·       Development and implementation of innovative technologies and operational frameworks for the promotion and creation of air mobility networks using drones, to improve the national transportation system and advance the knowledge-intensive Israeli industry.

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

·       Creation and growth of economically sustainable companies in Israel through the  promotion of innovative technological solutions at scale.

For the purpose of carrying out the pilot program for a two-year period from the date of the committee’s approval, there will be 8 meetings in which drone flights of different companies will be performed together in a single urban space and will demonstrate “co-existence.”

As part of the demonstration sessions, the companies will operate together in a managed common airspace and perform various increasingly complex scenarios. The first demonstration(first of its kind in the world), will include ~20 drones from some 5 different companies which will fly in open air space is expected to occur in Hadera in March 2021.

Ayalon Highways Company will function as the “commissioning site” for conducting the demonstrations and will provide the companies with floor space in the “Metropolitan Command and Control Center.” 

Herewith is the summation of programs that have been approved:

·       High-Lander Aviation Ltd. and Kando – A pilot program for an air control system for the autonomous management of drone fleets. A demonstration of capabilities for managing urban airspace laden with drones, multi-tasking, and multiple operators while prioritizing and dealing with unplanned events.

·       Airwayz Drones Ltd. – Demonstration of a solution used to fly multiple drones synchronized in a single airspace for several companies, simultaneously.

·       HarTek Technologies Ltd. – A pilot program to demonstrate drone technologies in a managed airspace. Operation of an advanced Command and Control system for the management of drones in a defined space.

·       F. T. Aerial Solutions Ltd. – A pilot program for aerial conveyance in an urban defined space. Experimenting with flying multiple drones in a common airspace under  unified aerial control. 

·       Simplex Interactive Ltd. – Experimenting and demonstrating flying drones in a managed airspace while practicing a unified aerial control system for several companies flying in a defined space.