Europe moves to head unmanned ATM policy

Following on from NASA’s original idea, more than 60 organisations have taken part in the first European UTM Day in Geneva.

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The UTM Day was set up to discuss Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM). The objective was to understand what actions need to be taken to safely and efficiently integrate remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft (commonly known as drones) into national airspace systems.

UTM, however, encompasses broader aspects too, such as the universal drone registration database, open identification systems, tamper-proof flight data recorders, up-to-date and trusted 3D mapping data, dynamic weather information and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, all of which will be needed to operate future drone traffic management systems.

Stakeholders from the US, Europe and China agreed on the need to create a Global UTM Standardization Group to manage the rapid rise of civilian drone usage. The group will work on drafting and distributing the interoperability blueprint of UAS Traffic Management. Members include regulators, air navigation service providers, drone manufacturers, drone operators, infrastructure service providers and academic experts.

Francis Schubert, CCO of skyguide, commented that “initial solutions to integrate drones into low altitude airspace will be implemented nationally. However, as drone technology and missions are likely to develop rapidly, a global initiative is needed to provide inputs on a harmonised, scalable and future-proof system that can be quickly defined and implemented by regulators worldwide”.

Simon Johnson, organiser of the European UTM Day, explained that “the Global UTM will be set up as a not-for-profit organisation based in Switzerland, with international online working groups that will meet regularly around the world to adopt standards and agree on new topics to be tackled”.

Founding members of the Global UTM Standardization Group include: AirMap (USA), Beihang University (China), Civil Aviation Authority (UK), Connect Robotics (Portugal), Delair-Tech (France), DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (Germany), Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile (France), DJI (China), Drone Alliance Europe, Drone Manufacturers Alliance Europe, ENAC (Italy), ENAV (Italy), EuroUSC (Belgium), Matternet (USA), National Air Traffic Services (UK), National Research Centre of ATM Law and Standard (China), National Laboratory of CNS/ATM (China), Nokia (Finland), Parrot (France), Precisionhawk – LATAS (USA), senseFly (Switzerland), Sharper Shape (USA), Simulyze (USA), skyguide (Switzerland), Skyward (USA), SITA, Swiss National Center of Robotics (Switzerland), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland), Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (Switzerland), Thales, Unifly (Belgium), ViaSat (Switzerland).

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