With more consumer and commercial drones hitting the skies every day, the need to track and monitor the flow of UAVs in the sky is becoming more pronounced.
Rules of flight vary wildy from country to country but it is clear that if UAV flights are not monitored properly, the public faces some major risks. From near misses with aeroplanes to accidents which cause death, if there are not properly enforced rules governing the movements of drones, our skies could become chaotic places in the very near future.
In September 2017, Airmap, a small US-based startup joined forces with Skyguide, a Swiss-based company. Together they launched U-space, a digital infrastructure purposed to enable situational awareness, data exchange, and digital communication for millions of drones in European skies.
How exactly does it work?
U-space allows drone users track the movement of their own and other drones in a particular area.
The first step is for users to register their drone.
One fills out some simple online forms and using the AirMap registry system they authenticate and verify your identity as the pilot of a particular craft. You include your email address and telephone number.
According to the company more than 85 percent of current drones are compatible with their system.
The maps provided by U-space will automatically display the local flight rules to users, highlighting which areas are free to fly in (areas in green) and which areas are off-limits (displayed in red). The Airmap flight engine allows users to easily request flights in restricted areas or to simply map out their intended flight plan.
Communication between airspace mangers and operators
U-space allows airtraffic controllers to easily contact drone pilots digitally using an adminitrative dashboard.
The app will also provide live traffic alerts of nearby manned and unmanned aircraft for drone pilots and warnings if drones get too close to other flying crafts with alerts sent via onscreen notifications and SMS.
When will it be ready?
Skyguide and AirMap will be ready to deploy a fully operational drone traffic management system in 2019 and it will likely be coming to the US before too long.
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