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Switzerland to introduce Europe’s first drone traffic control system

A large agricultural drone flies over a Swiss vineyard
The AirMap platform provides national airspace rules for more than 20 countries, and reaches more than 85% of the world’s drones through its network. Keystone

The Swiss system will be the first national deployment of U-space, a Europe digital infrastructure aimed at preventing accidents involving drones. A test phase will start in June 2018, reported the Swiss News Agency ATS on Monday.

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The national management system for unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV) would be the first of its kind on the European continent. The project has been launched as a collaboration between Swiss air navigation service provider SkyguideExternal link and AirMapExternal link, a California-based drone airspace management platform.

In a joint press releaseExternal link, the two companies laid out their plans to create a “state-of-the-art Swiss U-space” involving drone registration, GPS-based virtual boundaries known as geofences, and real-time alerts for UAV pilots who would be connected to Swiss air traffic control services. 

The UAV control system would provide drones with “safe and secure access to Swiss skies”, they wrote, adding that they expect the system to be “fully operational” from summer 2019.

Booming economy

Such a project will be a “catalyst” for the growth of the drone economy in Switzerland, which is already booming, Skyguide said. According to the press release, the number of UAV flight requests received by Skyguide has increased tenfold since 2013.

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