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Altitude Angel demonstrates UAV traffic management in Europe

Safely integrating autonomous drones into global airspace is the goal of Altitude Angel.

The company has completed its involvement in the Gulf of Finland (GOF) U-Space project, declaring the trials to have been a “huge success” and an “amazing showcase” of its unmanned traffic management (UTM) technologies.

The GOF U-space demonstrations are funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking for European sky air traffic management research.

In July and August, advanced drone operational demonstrations took place across Estonia and Finland, showcasing use cases that involved both manned and unmanned aircraft in shared airspace. The demonstrations relied on systems such as Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM O/S to remain safe.

GuardianUTM, the company’s core system, is already helping drones operate in controlled airspace. It powers the UK’s national UTM system, operated by NATS, the UK’s main air navigation service provider.

Photo: Altitude Angel

Photo: Altitude Angel

Altitude Angel was a key UTM partner for the trials, providing services that included integration to the FIMS (flight information management system) for the transport of flight plans, telemetry/position reports, AIM (geofencing/volume reservations), as well as alerts and registration data to-and-from the drone operators and manned aviation which were involved in the trials.

Altitude Angel was able to demonstrate its UTM platform across a number of scenarios that varied in scope and range, and included:

  • urban drone fleet operations with police intervention,
  • long-distance multisensory inspection flights over forests,
  • urban drone operations in controlled airspace,
  • powerline inspection in rural areas, maritime search and rescue, and
  • international parcel delivery.

The demonstration series concluded with an urban Volocopter air taxi flight around Vantaa International Airport, Helsinki.

“We’ve been working with the SESAR team for over a year on this project. It’s been a great few months in Finland and Estonia supporting the live demonstrations which have been huge success and an amazing showcase of our world-leading UTM technologies,” said Simon Wynn-Mackenzie, Altitude Angel’s head of products.

“Not only did the scenarios give us another opportunity to demonstrate our production UTM platform in another real-life environment, they went a long way to showing the public how drones can be used in a positive and socially beneficial way on a daily basis,” Wynn-Mackenzie said.

“Our only disappointment was that we were not able to demonstrate our world-first Conflict Resolution Service which we unveiled in July, as the trial scenarios had already been agreed. However, we’ll be looking to showcase our constantly evolving platform and several new services very soon,” he said.

Other UTM demonstrations. In November 2018, Altitude Angel led the team behind Operation Zenith, which gave a view of the future of air traffic management and drone integration into busy, complex airspace, demonstrating how by using the right technology, it’s possible to safely integrate unmanned traffic into controlled airspace and open the skies to commercial airspace worldwide.

Altitude Angel’s developer platform is open and available to all.

The U-space initiative. The GOF U-space project, with a broad consortium of 19 members, demonstrates Europe is on course with its implementation of U-space, an initiative that aims to ensure safe and secure drone traffic management, taking into account the rapid growth in the use of drones.

The GOF concept enables shared situational awareness for all aviation stakeholders. The success of the project is based on deep air traffic management experience of all consortium members, including three world-leading UTM technology vendors and two air navigation services providers, developing interoperability and data-sharing solutions that are aligned with SESAR’s overall U-space architecture.

The U-Space project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Connection Europe Facility (CEF) programme under grant agreement SJU/LC/343-CTR.

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