The European Commission expects that the global marketplace for unmanned aircraft or drones will create more than 10 billion Euros in economic impact each year by 2035. U-space is a set of new services and procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for these large numbers of drones. U-space is capable of ensuring the smooth operation of all categories of drones, all types of missions and all drone users in all operating environments. It provide not only the framework for routine drone operations, but also an effective interface to manned aviation. ATM/ANS service provides and authorities. The services are based on a high level of digitilisation and automation of functions, either on board the drone itself or on the ground
Skyguide demonstrates integration of drones into airspace by means of the U-space
Skyguide, Switzerland’s air navigation service provider, and its project partners demonstrated today in Geneva how drones can be safely and efficiently integrated into the existing airspace.
The live demonstration of the so called U-space – the digital infrastructure, services, and procedures that will enable drones to integrate with the European airspace – proves that the air navigation services are ready for the next stage of drone integration. It could also open up the global market.
The project partners – which included skyguide, AirMap, SITAONAIR, senseFly and PX4 – performed three live missions flown by senseFly’s albris and eBee Plus drones and a drone with pre-programmed PX4 flight controller to demonstrate how drones can be easily announced to the air navigation service provider through e-registration and e-identification. The integration with air traffic control, flight planning and airspace authorization as well as live tracking/telemetry and dynamic situational awareness were also part of the live demonstration.
« We see ourselves as forward-looking partners of 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 with our partners as soon as possible. » said Alex Bristol, CEO of skyguide.
Any further information, pictures, videos and the joint media release are available at:
« Skyguide wants to build a facilitating environment in which the drone industry can flourish. »
At senseFly, we believe in using technology to make work safer and more efficient. Our 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.
The eBee Plus is a large coverage photogrammetric mapping drone featuring RTK/PPK upgradeability for survey-grade accuracy on demand. The eBee Plus system is the ultimate tool for geospatial organisations that demand photogrammetric-quality mapping. With its unique upgradeable RTK/PPK functionality and flight time of almost an hour, this simple, largely automated solution is perfect for professionals working in fields such as surveying, construction and GIS who require a highly efficient method of data collection with survey-grade accuracy. Learn more about eBee Plus
albris is a sensor-rich mapping and inspection drone with the widest camera breadth of any civilian platform. It was designed from the ground up to perform close inspections of bridges, buildings, and other structures with the goal of collecting high-resolution imagery and video. The fully stabilized TripleView camera head allows the operator to capture high-resolution still images on demand and also switch between HD and thermal video imagery live during flight. Learn more about albris
We empower the air transport industry through tailored ‘nose-to-tail’ connectivity solutions that deliver true value. This is connected aircraft innovation you can trust. (http://www.sitaonair.aero/).
Skyguide & AirMap Join Forces to Develop Europe’s First National Drone Traffic Management System
Today, skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider, and AirMap, the leading global airspace management platform for drones, announced that they will develop and deploy the first national drone traffic management system in Europe.
The system will be the first national deployment of U-space, Europe’s vision for the digital infrastructure that will support safe and secure access to European skies for millions of drones. Much like the U.S. « Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) » initiative, U-space is a collaborative effort to enable situational awareness, data exchange, and digital communication for the European drone ecosystem.
In a pilot phase starting in June 2018, skyguide and AirMap plan to integrate the AirMap UTM platform with skyguide’s infrastructure and introduce automated flight authorization in a single airspace environment. Skyguide and AirMap will also develop a roadmap for Swiss U-space that will set the stage for the deployment of a fully operational drone traffic management system in 2019 and beyond.
Swiss U-space will ensure that all categories of drones and all types of missions can safely take flight in Switzerland’s airspace. Swiss U-space will include features such as:
« After a year of successful collaboration with AirMap, we expect that the AirMap UTM platform meets the highest standards required for a Swiss U-space, » says Klaus Meier, Chief Information Officer of skyguide. « We’re looking forward to bringing U-space capabilities to Switzerland and we are excited to drive this innovation together with AirMap. »
« With Swiss U-space, Switzerland aims to safely open the skies for drone commerce, » said Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap. « 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. »
« The establishment of a U-space is the key to improve drone operations’ safety and to satisfy the security and privacy concerns of our citizens. In order to achieve these objectives, a seamless cooperation between all the partners involved is crucial. I am glad to see that a further important step to tackle this challenge was taken today. » said Christian Hegner, Director General of Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation.
Swiss U-space will be a powerful catalyst for Switzerland’s drone economy. Since 2013, drone flight requests at skyguide have multiplied tenfold. Switzerland is home to a thriving community of drone companies and the world’s first autonomous drone delivery network, located in Zürich.
The partnership follows the success of skyguide’s 2017 Swiss U-space trial, the first live demonstration of sophisticated U-space services in Europe. Together, skyguide, AirMap, and SITAONAIR exhibited fully operational U-space capabilities – including registration and identification, geofencing, and flight authorization – during live drone missions performed by senseFly and PX4 in Geneva.
With deployments in Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States, AirMap UTM is the most comprehensive and connected platform of its kind. The platform offers up-to-date airspace information for every country in the world, national airspace rules for more than 20 countries, and the largest network of drone operators, manufacturers, and airspace managers in the drone ecosystem, reaching more than 85% of the world’s drones.
View the media kit here.
AirMap is the world’s leading airspace intelligence platform for drones. Millions of drones, hundreds of drone manufacturers, developers, and airspace managers rely on AirMap’s airspace services to maintain situational awareness and communicate with others in low-altitude airspace.
The AirMap platform includes a suite of security solutions for reliable identification, verification, and authentication of a drone in-flight via SSL/TLS certificates. Together with DigiCert, AirMap created Drone ID, the first-ever publicly-trusted digital certificate for drones.
AirMap allows for the instant authorization of drone operations by third parties based on contextual airspace rules designated by airspace authorities for a given jurisdiction. Flight plans identified as low-risk can be pre-approved for authorization with AirMap’s easy-to-use digital airspace management dashboard.
AirMap provides dynamic flight-planning capabilities based on airspace advisories, obstacles, weather, and nearby aircraft for real-time deconfliction and rules-based geofencing. Live telemetry is available for every flight, including positioning, flight path, takeoff and landing, distance, and altitude.
Swiss air navigation service provider (https://www.skyguide.ch/en/)
On a day to day basis, the SFO receives, amongst others, requests from drone operators, to fly varying and different types of professional missions such as photo missions, construction site monitoring, surveillance, transport missions, crop dusting or calibration flights. The flight for drones requests are increasing steeply which requires for skyguide to have new and more convenient solutions.
Skyguide is at the forefront of innovation with two further projects :
The Virtual Centre Model is a plus for operational flexibility, business continuity and cost-effective technical evolution. The Model has been inspired by the development of aircraft cockpits and by the concept of cloud computing. By virtually consolidating air traffic control centres, we are generating a new paradigm in Air Navigation Services. We are creating a new reality where our customers are at the centre of the entire aviation value chain.
The Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, Zurich and Geneva Airport, Switzerland’s regional airports, SWISS, Easyjet, the Swiss Air Force and skyguide have jointly established an innovation programme known as “CHIPS” for introducing new satellite-based flight procedures. CHIPS stands for the Swiss (“CH”)-wide Implementation Programme for SESAR-oriented objectives. Some of the 20 projects submitted have already been implemented, at locations such as Zurich Airport, St. Gallen-Altenrhein and Les Eplatures regional airports and the Inselspital hospital in Bern. One of the key advantages of Satellite-based navigation is the greater positional accuracy it provides, more efficient air traffic handling, lower fuel consumption, fewer pollutant emissions and less noise, too.
Beginning this summer, drone will transport time-sensitive medical laboratory samples and urgently-needed medication between Tiefenau Hospital and University Hospital Insel in the city of Berne. Today, those samples are transported via courier or taxi with significant delays due to ground traffic. Drones provide a safety, efficient, and reliable alternative, saving doctors and patients crucial time in addressing urgent healthcare needs. The pilot project hopes to expand to Zurich later this year.
This remarkable pilot program is also the first instance of routine BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Vision) operations supported by a nationwide integrated airspace system: Swiss U-space (Urban-Space).
In early March of this year, skyguide announced a partnership with AirMap to develop and deploy a national drone traffic management system for Switzerland. Swiss U-space, as it is known, will power Switzerland’s thriving community of drone companies with UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) services for advanced commercial drone operations like BVLOS.
« In March, skyguide, FOCA, and AirMap started on the path to deploy the first-ever national U-Space system in Switzerland, » said AirMap CTO Andreas Lamprecht. « Today, we celebrate another first: operational BVLOS operations by Matternet and Swiss Post, powered by Swiss U-Space and the AirMap platform. »
In the pilot program, Matternet drones will connect to skyguide’s Swiss U-Space system, which integrates AirMap UTM core services to allow for coordinated beyond visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations. AirMap UTM core services include geofencing, integration with skyguide’s air traffic control radar system, dynamic situational awareness, and live telemetry.
Skyguide plays a pioneering role in the European development of U-Space and actively supports the integration of drones into Swiss airspace.
« We see great economic and social potential in drones. To exploit this potential, drones need access to Swiss airspace, which is already very busy. The so-called U-Space, which skyguide is developing together with Airmap, provides drones with this secure access, making projects such as those of Matternet and Swiss Post possible, » says Robert Fraefel, skyguide’s expert on drones.
The pilot program provides a strong example of how UTM and U-Space can be utilized to benefit our cities and communities. To learn more about how AirMap is bringing essential UTM and U-Space services to a community near you, visit www.airmap.com/utm and https://www.skyguide.ch/en/events-media-board/news/.
« We believe in collaboration beyond Swiss borders using the U-space standards defined by SESAR. »
skyguide seeks to be compliant to the standards defined by SESAR Joint Undertaking. Only a standard that goes beyond country-borders and its interests is sustainable. Skyguide is committed to setting up a U-space. We welcome the interest and inputs from European Commission.
Skyopener & ViaDrone
These are two very similar projects in which we participate together with skysoft to provide the ATM solution needed. They will show the use of RPAS for civilian applications. The pilot project will demonstrate maintenance flights of high-voltage lines and railway tracks with a drone that has a wingspan of 4.2 meters, an endurance of 10 hours and a maximum range of 1’000 kilometres. Impressive! This will provide building blocks, enabling seamless conventional and drone operations in Switzerland. Commercial applications could be extended to other fields. Skyopener is the European-funded project (H2020), while ViaDrone is the Swiss-funded project. These projects overlap within the consortium. Being part of both consortiums will minimize the cost of research & development
Skyguide’s ILS checker
Flight calibration services are one of the costs to maintain NAVAIDs. We will be able to reduce maintenance costs by employing a drone for part of checking the ILS. As drone operator, by 2020 we will save 360’000 CHF per year. Reducing the flight frequency of conventional planes by using a drone instead leads to less noise emissions for the airport neighborhood as well as less CO2 emissions: up to 169 tons per year will be saved as of 2023.
Integrating drones into the airspace
Aircraft are one of the safest means of transport. This should remain the case, even with the massive increase in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones”. Skyguide has begun work, together with a number of partners, on developing a system to integrate these drones safely and efficiently into the airspace they use.
SESAR, Europe’s air traffic management research programme, estimates that some seven million drones will be flying in the continent’s airspace for leisure purposes by 2050, with a further 400 000 in use for commercial or official purposes. The development of the drone industry depends on our ability to integrate these vehicles safely and efficiently into the airspace they use. And it was to this end that the non-profit Global Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management Association (GUTMA) was founded back in July 2016 with skyguide participation.
How this goal could be achieved was demonstrated by skyguide and its project partners in Geneva in September 2017. The “U-Space” concept will provide the digital infrastructure, services and procedures required to give drones access to airspace while still ensuring the safety of other airspace users. As the successful live demonstration in Geneva underlined, skyguide is at the forefront in the development of such systems, and is well ready for the next step in the drone integration process. Skyguide now plans to develop a fully automated and interlinked digital U-Space infrastructure between now and 2025.
U-Space should not be limited to a single country. And this is why skyguide is ensuring that it is developed in due and full compliance with all the requirements of the European Commission, which are being devised by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
A skyguide ILS checker
Skyguide intends to use drones for its own purposes, too. Up until now, the checks and calibrations of the company’s instrument landing systems (ILS) have had to be performed by an aircraft specially flown in from Germany. In future, drones will be able to perform some of this work.
By using drones equipped with measuring instruments, the number of calibration flights and their measurement programmes will be reduced by 50 per cent from 2020 and by 70 per cent from 2023, thus cutting CO2 emissions by 142 tons and energy consumption by 541 MWh per year from 2020. From 2023, we will see a reduction of 199 tons of CO2 and a cut in energy consumption of 757 MWh per year, according to skyguide’s forecast.
Automatic landing systems provide pilots with precision guidance for a safe approach and landing on the runway under conditions of reduced visibility. These systems have to be calibrated at Swiss airports every six months. This is currently performed by means of calibration flights operated at various heights and angles. An aircraft with specialized equipment is flown in from Germany for this purpose. This is expensive, and causes greenhouse gas emissions and noise during low traffic periods, usually during the night at international airports.
Specially equipped drone in use in Zurich and Geneva
“By employing drones to check automatic landing systems, skyguide will be able to significantly reduce costs and operational disturbance as well as CO2 and noise emissions”, says Hervé Demule, navigation engineer and project leader. Drones for regular preventive and corrective maintenance of the instrument landing system (ILS) are in use since January 2018 at Zurich and Geneva airports, and will be deployed to regional airports in the second half of this year. Additionally, a deployment to other Navigation Aid Systems is also being considered.
Hervé Demule further says: “We are now collecting data to ensure stable and precise measurement results. By the end of 2019 and once measurement accuracy and correlation to flight check have been confirmed, skyguide intends to reduce calibration flights performed by aircraft”.
Number of calibration flights halved by 2020
By using drones equipped with measuring instruments, the number of ILS calibration flights and their measurement programmes will be reduced by 50 per cent from 2020 and by 70 per cent from 2023, thus cutting CO2 emissions by 142 tons per year from 2020. From 2023, a reduction of 199 tons of CO2 will be realised per year, according to skyguide’s forecast.
Skyguide experts will be presenting their innovative solution on Thursday 19 April at the International Flight Inspection Symposium IFIS in Monterey, California. More information at: https://www.ion.org/ifis/abstracts.cfm?paperID=5590