Skyguide and AirMap join forces to bring Europe’s first unmanned traffic system for drones to Switzerland. The so-called U-Space system has been deployed and tested since June 2018 and is expected to be fully operational by the summer of 2019. Regardless of the name (U-Space or UTM as we call it in the US) an automated drone traffic management system is considered a requirement to safely integrate unmanned air traffic on a large scale into the manned airspace and thus to allow services such as drone deliveries, inspections, and other services.

The Swiss’ plan

The U-Space project is being headed by Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider, and AirMap, the leading global airspace management platform for drones, as a joint operation. Their goal is to create an unmanned traffic system for drones that is state of the art in an effort to secure access within European airspace for “millions” of drones. This system will include drone registration, GPS-based virtual boundaries (geofences), and real-time alerts for UAV pilots that are in the air.

In a statement, Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap said:

“With Swiss U-space, Switzerland aims to safely open the skies for drone commerce. We’re proud to work with skyguide to bring AirMap UTM to Switzerland and make it possible for more pilots, more drones, and more missions to take flight in Europe.”

Both companies have estimated the system will be fully operational by summer of 2019. Just like the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) within the United States, U-space wants to establish communication and data collection throughout the drone ecosystem. This could hopefully pave the way for a future where autonomous drones join the workforce, helping companies complete tasks more efficiently.

What is U-space?

U-Space is a digital infrastructure that hopes to implement drones into the workforce throughout Europe. According to the website that represents U-space, they are pursuing a future with drones because:

“A clear framework at EU level would allow the creation of a truly European market for drone services and aircraft, thereby harnessing potential for jobs and growth creation in this new sector of the economy.”

They have plenty of different projects on the horizon, but their first action is monitoring traffic in Switzerland. They hope to roll out complete systems by 2020, with a lot of testing and demonstration done beforehand.

What do you think about drones autonomously taking to the sky? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photo credit: Wired

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