By Luke Dormehl
Switzerland is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to drones. The country has already used drones to transport lab samples between hospitals and given the necessary approvals for drone deliveries in populated areas. Now, the nation appears to be in line for another world’s first as it will integrate drones into its air traffic management system.
This system will track drones and register drone operators in order to make the airspace safer, whether it’s for unmanned aerial vehicles or, well, much larger manned aerial vehicles.
The initiative will spread its wings in June 2018, when Swiss air traffic control operator Skyguide will start merging its own data and traffic management applications with the digital airspace-mapping platform developed by California-based AirMap Inc. AirMap is the world’s leading global airspace management platform for drones, with existing integration with drones developed by DJI, 3D Robotics, Yuneec, and others.
The project is part of U-space, a European effort aimed at laying down the digital infrastructure to support safe and secure access to European skies for millions of drones. The part of the project debuting in jube is described as a pilot phase (no pun intended), after which Skyguide and AirMap will work together to develop a road map for deploying a fully operational drone traffic management system in 2019.
“With Swiss U-space, Switzerland aims to safely open the skies for drone commerce,” said Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap, in a statement.