Avinor Air Navigation Services (ANS) is working with Frequentis and Altitude Angel to implement an unmanned traffic management (UTM) system at 18 airport towers across Norway. The system, which is being tested in a real-world environment at the first two airport towers, before being rolled out nationwide, will support the countries future drone strategy. The UTM system provides an operational overview of the airspace and allows two-way communication between air traffic control (ATC) and drone operators, enabling safe drone use.
The UTM project in Norway supports the Norwegian governments drone strategy for the increased safe use of drones, and to tackle the rising number of reported incidents and airspace violations. With the UTM solution, Norway’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), Avinor ANS, has the means to accelerate the safe integration of drones, evolving the commercial use of the technology to generate sustainable revenue streams.
“To manage the increasing number of requests from drone operators we require a digitalised system to replace as much of the manual operations as possible. The ability to implement real-time no-drone zones, provide geo-awareness, flight approvals, and easy access to drone operator contact information will improve safety for both Avinor ANS and all airspace users,” says Axel Knutsen, Avinor ANS Vice President UTM. “This phased roll-out of UTM at the first two airports will allow the local drone community to use the applications and provide feedback ahead of a nationwide rollout.”
Frequentis, with partner Altitude Angel, has provided the Common Information Services (CIS) function and includes a foundation of U-space (unmanned airspace) services. This allows Avinor ANS to open Norwegian airspace to commercial drone use and includes an operator portal including a fleet management system as well as web and mobile flight planning capabilities. Flight plans can be automatically created and amended, and flight requests approved or declined, while temporary or permanent no fly zones can also be configured in the system.
“The UTM system is now operational at Bodø Airport and Kristiansund Airport”, says Hannu Juurakko, Frequentis Vice President ATM Civil and Chairman of the ATM Executive Team. “We are pleased to be working closely with Avinor ANS on their goals for commercial drone use, shaping the future of UTM together. By providing an advanced drone management environment that integrates both manned and unmanned traffic, we ensure information flow between all relevant stakeholders in real-time.”
The Application was delivered fully cloud based during Covid-19. Meetings were held entirely virtually. The complete solution is operated from a cloud environment.
Norway will be the first country in the Nordic region to implement a UTM system, highlighting Avinor ANS’ dedication to the industry. The operational system already follows ongoing regulatory work, consisting of a CIS technology and a U-space service technologies. CIS provides the so called “single source of truth” for relevant safety information to reach connected stakeholders. Integrated by open and standardised APIs, U-space services are provided, including strategic deconfliction, conformance monitoring, and capacity management. Automation is used to increase efficiency; however, controllers and operators remain in full control and are contactable when required for emergency handling.
“We’re excited to see the first phase of the project, and the Ninox Drone app, go live. This is the first of what we envisage being many important milestones as we support, with our partners and Avinor ANS, Norway's drone ecosystem.”, said Chris Forster, Altitude Angel, Chief Operations Officer. “The potential for Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs) to facilitate new possibilities, new industries and new businesses is immense. Avinor is leading the way in deploying Ninox Drone to serve – and catalyse – the emerging drone economy."
Axel Knutsen, Avinor Vice President UTM at Kvernberget Airport, Norway
Photo credit: © Anders Martinsen @ Uas Norway