At this year's World ATM Congress in Madrid, DFS, the German air navigation services provider, and Droniq won the UTM Innovation Award for the U-Space Sandbox project in Hamburg. With the U-Space Sandbox, it was demonstrated for the first time how a U-Space can function in practice through the use of a drone traffic management system, or UTM for short.
The ATM/UTM Awards are presented by the Air Traffic Management Magazine and the Unmanned Airspace platform. The awards recognise outstanding ideas and achievements in the areas of safety, innovation, cost efficiency and environment in airspace management. A high-profile jury consisting of industry representatives examined and evaluated the project proposals submitted. Droniq and DFS are among five award winners in different categories.
The UTM Innovation Award recognises projects that advance the integration of drones into airspace. Droniq and DFS entered the competition in this category with their U-Space Sandbox in Hamburg. In this Sandbox, set up with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), Droniq and DFS demonstrated for the first time how the European Union's U-Space concept can work in practice. An essential component of the project implemented in 2021 was the UTM system developed by DFS and marketed by Droniq, which was used to provide the services mandated in a U-Space. From 2023, these U-Spaces can be set up in Europe. These areas will allow drones to be safely and efficiently integrated into airspace, including the interplay with manned aircraft. This will enable the regular use of drones, for example in logistics, agriculture or in the medical sector.
"With the launch of U-Spaces, the drone market will soon open a new and exciting chapter," said Droniq CEO Jan-Eric Putze. "In our previous U-Space projects, we have already gained the necessary experience to actively shape this development, both in terms of the technical requirements for safe and continuous U-Space operation and in terms of the expertise required. We are excited about the time ahead and are well equipped to play our role."
Arndt Schoenemann, CEO and Chairman of the DFS Executive Board said: "It is important to put the first U-Spaces into action to advance the safe integration of drones into airspace. With the U-Space Sandbox in Hamburg, we have convincingly demonstrated how this can be done and at the same time we have demonstrated the DFS group’s technological capabilities. Unmanned aviation is an important part of future air traffic, which will in certain fields become increasingly autonomous in its operations."