Skyguide and AirMap are developing Swiss U-space, the first national UAV traffic management system in Europe, and it should be fully operational by 2019.
It will be a boon for Switzerland, which should benefit from the first adoption of an automated flight authorization in a single airspace environment. Dubbed “Swiss U-space”, this system will be implemented by Skyguide, the company in charge of controlling Swiss airspace, and the Californian startup Airmap, which develops airspace management platforms for drones.
As the first incarnation in Europe of U-space, the project encapsulates a digital infrastructure project being developed to provide drones with safe and secure access to the European sky. By positioning itself as a leader in the field, the country is giving itself the opportunity to head Europe in the development of expertise in this growing field.
With the aim of being fully operational from 2019, the Swiss U-space will be deployed in June 2018, as part of a pilot phase that will integrate the AirMap UTM platform into Skyguide’s infrastructure. It will also be necessary to develop an automatic flight authorisation process.
“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,” said Klaus Meier, CIO 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,” said Christian Hegner, director general of Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation. “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.”
To ensure the safety of all categories of UAVs and all types of missions in Swiss airspace, the Swiss U-space will operate a blockchain for registration of users and drones. The system will also be able to perform dynamic georeferencing and provide immediate digital access authorization to the airspace.
Other planned services include support for connectivity and communications between drone pilots and airspace control services, as well as real-time alerts for drone pilots and real-time telemetry for airspace control services. The partnership between Skyguide and AirMap follows a first demonstration in September 2017 in Geneva, that tested U-space services during real-life missions.