Austro Control Dronespace: drone traffic management system for Austria is ready for takeoff

Flying a drone in Austria will become even safer and simpler. Austro Control, together with Frequentis, has developed a traffic management system for the safe integration of drones into the Austrian airspace.

Drones have been experiencing a veritable boom for years. In order to make drone flying in Austria even safer and simpler, Austro Control, together with Frequentis, has developed a traffic management system for drones, which is now being launched. With Austro Control Dronespace, drones are being integrated into the Austrian airspace.

  • Flying drones becomes easier as flight plans can be filed, and flight clearances requested or issued directly in the app.
  • Flying becomes safer, because air traffic control and drone pilots will be able to see where other drones are on the move.
  • Drone flying becomes easier, because Austro Control Dronespace will be the contact point for all official and operational processes: from registering as a drone operator to personally managing individual drones in the app.
  • Drone flying becomes safer because the “Quick Check” function for drone pilots always makes it immediately clear where it is permitted to fly and where it is not.

“With Austro Control Dronespace, we have developed an innovative platform for the safe and easy handling of drone flights together with our technology partner Frequentis. With this, we take another important step in the digitalisation and automation of official processes, while also supporting the Austrian industry when it comes to developing new drone services for the market,” explains Austro Control CEO Valerie Hackl.

In future, Austro Control Dronespace will enable digital drone flight planning and flight clearances in real time. Drone pilots will have comprehensive situational awareness of other flights in their vicinity as well as all information relevant to aviation law regarding geo zones and airspace restrictions. With more transparency on planned drone flights and the automated clearance process (a process previously carried out via telephone by the tower), the new system also makes things less complicated for Austro Control’s air traffic controllers.

“With Austro Control Dronespace we reduce the controllers’ workload in the tower, as communications with drone pilots will be handled digitally and automatically via the app, and not via telephone. We are laying an important cornerstone for the safe coexistence of crewed and uncrewed aviation in the controlled airspace and are thus further increasing safety in the vicinity of airports,” says Austro Control Managing Director Philipp Piber.

“Austro Control Dronespace is bringing us one step closer to the safe integration of drones into the airspace. The safe and efficient coexistence of crewed aviation and drones by creating technical and operational conditions is an essential component of the Austrian Aviation Strategy 2040+ of the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation, and Technology (BMK). I am therefore pleased that we now have successfully launched the first stage of a drone traffic management system, making an important contribution to the realisation of our aviation strategy,” says Elisabeth Landrichter, Group Leader Air at the BMK.

“The common goal of Austro Control and Frequentis is to ultimately provide other organisations with security-relevant tasks access to the nationwide uncrewed traffic management (UTM) system; those in the field of public safety and critical infrastructure would also benefit from access to the system,” says Norbert Haslacher, CEO Frequentis. “In the further development of the UTM system along a jointly designed roadmap, it is our shared responsibility to support the existing and future needs of safety-critical organisations, emergency response organisations, professional operators, and hobby pilots to utilise drones as easily and safely as possible.”

The new system was tested intensively upfront with drone operators and the constructive feedback was incorporated into the development process. After a successful testing phase, the Austro Control Dronespace app is now ready for take-off.

It is important that in the future drone pilots use the Austro Control Dronespace App for all their drone flights and file a flight plan when doing so. With this, their drone flights will always be visible to other drone pilots as well as to air traffic control, enhancing safety.

From 24 October, digital flight plan filing, and approval will be possible directly and digitally via dronespace.at.

The new system will go live in a two-step process. First, the operator registration and the Quick-Check function will be activated on 10 October 2023 in the desktop version. The app will then be available for download from 20 October 2023 at the latest.

Austro Control Dronespace recognised internationally

Austro Control Dronespace has also attracted international attention even before its launch. At the new Airspace Integration Week congress in Madrid, 25-28 September, Austro Control and Frequentis were awarded the AIRSPACE INTEGRATION AWARD 2023 in the UTM category for Austro Control Dronespace. The UTM award recognises innovative solutions for integrating drones into the airspace.

Important features of Austro Control Dronespace at a glance:

For drone pilots:

  • Filing flight plans and obtaining flight clearances within control zones
  • Quick-check on relevant airspace restrictions and geographical zones
  • Up to date information on other drone flights in the vicinity
  • Registration as operator in the app

For air traffic controllers:

  • Checking and clearing flight plans for drone pilots
  • Establishing airspace rules and restrictions
  • Warnings of (also short-term) closed airspaces
  • Direct communication with drone pilots via app
    Example: immediate request to land in case of rescue operations

You can find all information on the Austro Control drone website: www.dronespace.at
Detailed information around drone flying – from registration to the regulatory framework to the drone license – and on the new Austro Control Dronespace system can be found on the Austro Control website www.dronespace.at.

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