Droniq and DFS, the German air navigation service provider, have submitted their findings from Germany’s first U-Space ‘sandbox trials’ to the German Ministry of Transport (BMVI).

The key finding from this real-world test is that the U-Space concept, developed to efficiently integrate drone traffic into existing airspace, actually works in practice. The recommendations are currently being examined by the funding body, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). 

German Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer says “This is good news for the future of mobility. These practical tests in the first German U-Space real-world laboratory−which we funded… have shown what a well-functioning, safe and intelligent interaction between manned and unmanned aviation can look like. This is important because drones can be smart, fast and clean helpers in everyday life.

“They are changing how we think about passenger transportation, logistics and supply chains, as they can be used to transport vital medicines, tools or parcels both quickly and efficiently over long distances. Drones supply rural areas and those that are otherwise hard to reach, offer valuable assistance when performing inspections of production equipment and infrastructure and also provide key support for rescue services, disaster relief and agricultural operations.”  

Another insight gained during the trials was that the whole system should, and can rely on a large amount of automation. This includes, among other things, the checking of applications for permission to fly. Such checks must ensure, for instance, that the flight requested by a drone pilot does not overlap with other flights.  

Highlighting the complexities faced by the trials, the CEO of Droniq Jan-Eric Putze said: “We have shown in the sandbox that a U-Space can be set up anywhere, even in such a challenging environment like the Port of Hamburg”.

“The common information service plays a central role in a U-Space. This service provides relevant information, some of which is already available to DFS today, such as geodata. This creates a complete air situation display for the drone pilot, which ensures a safe mission,” added Angela Kies, Head of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at DFS. 

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