Transport Systems Catapult and Department for Transport: Traffic Management and Commercial Drone Operation

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The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) will lead a research and development project by the DfT that will lay the groundwork and open pathways to commercial drone operation in the UK. The project will focus on a future Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management (UTM) framework to enable future service providers to participate in the intelligent control of airspace. Another key feature of this project is the focus on safe working environments and the safe sharing of airspace between traditional aircrafts and beyond line of sight operations of drones.

The TSC will develop the requirements and validation methods for the UTM framework alongside Altitude Angel, ANRA Technologies, Cranfield University, NATS, Satellite Applications Catapult, and Thales UK.

Paul Febvre, the Chief Technology Officer, Satellite Applications Catapult said,

“Satellites are already used for the reliable positioning and communication to provide safe Air Transport Management systems on a global scale. We anticipate that the emergence of drones brings both challenges and tremendous opportunities, with integration of advanced terrestrial and satellite systems required to support the revolution in air-space operations.” 

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