Airservices Australia is preparing for an anticipated influx of drones over the next 20 years with the appointment of Frequentis Australasia to develop world-leading, digital air traffic management to safely integrate millions of uncrewed aircraft flights into Australia’s busy airspace.

A new analysis commissioned by Airservices predicts that drone flights in Australia will surge from around 1.5 million currently to more than 60 million by 2043, requiring the latest technologies to manage the significant increase in air traffic.

Frequentis has been selected to develop a Flight Information Management System (FIMS) that will enable Airservices to seamlessly incorporate drones, air taxis and other uncrewed aircraft into Australian airspace.

The FIMS will be at the core of Australia’s Uncrewed Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) ecosystem. It will enable Airservices to share flight information between air traffic control, traditional aircraft, and uncrewed airspace users.

Frequentis was selected after a comprehensive selection process, which included prototype development and in-field trials. The company has proven experience in the delivery of operational UTM systems around the world.

Jason Harfield, Airservices Australia Chief Executive Officer, said the new system would support the safe integration of current and future air traffic with the rapid growth of uncrewed aircraft.

“Drones are the biggest growth area in aviation and our partnership with Frequentis to develop a FIMS will enable us to integrate traditional and new airspace users into increasingly busy airspace,” Mr Harfield said.

“With Frequentis, we will develop a FIMS that meets the needs of Australian airspace users and ensures we can safely integrate millions of drone flights with other users. I’m confident the new FIMS will encourage the growing drone market to reach its full potential in Australia.”

Martin Rampl, Managing Director, Frequentis Australia said the company was delighted to have been chosen to develop the new system.

“Frequentis is the only company worldwide to have successfully delivered UTM solutions to multiple Air Navigation Service Providers. This strategic partnership with Airservices Australia represents another important milestone in our mission to support the Australian airspace ecosystem with safe, efficient and compliant integration of drones while fostering innovation and economic growth,” Mr Rampl said.

“We are looking forward to working with Airservices to jointly develop the system, pushing technological innovation in the uncrewed aviation domain, including the ability to integrate new services in the future.”