Austro Control Dronespace: Austria’s Drone Traffic Management System Takes Flight

Austria is witnessing a surge in drone usage, and Austro Control, in partnership with Frequentis, has responded with a cutting-edge traffic management system. The Austro Control Dronespace system is set to transform drone flying in Austria by simplifying operations and bolstering safety within the Austrian airspace.

Streamlining Drone Operations

Austro Control Dronespace is set to streamline drone operations in Austria in several key ways:

Simplified Flight Planning: Drone operators will be able to file flight plans and request flight clearances directly through the app, making it easier than ever to get drones in the air.

Enhanced Safety: Both air traffic control and drone pilots will have real-time visibility of other drones in operation, significantly enhancing safety in the skies.

Centralized Hub: Austro Control Dronespace will serve as the go-to hub for all official and operational processes related to drones, from operator registration to individual drone management via the app.

Quick Check Function: The “Quick Check” feature for drone pilots will provide instant clarity on permitted flight zones, ensuring safe and compliant drone operations.

Digital Transformation in Action

Valerie Hackl, CEO of Austro Control, shared her enthusiasm, stating, “With Austro Control Dronespace, we have developed an innovative platform for the safe and easy handling of drone flights together with our technology partner Frequentis. With this, we take another important step in the digitalisation and automation of official processes, while also supporting the Austrian industry when it comes to developing new drone services for the market.”

Seamless Real-Time Planning

Austro Control Dronespace is set to enable real-time digital drone flight planning and clearances. Drone pilots will gain comprehensive situational awareness, including the locations of other flights and critical aviation law information concerning geo zones and airspace restrictions. The system will replace the previously telephone-based clearance process with a streamlined, automated one, simplifying operations for Austro Control’s air traffic controllers.

Philipp Piber, Managing Director at Austro Control, noted, “With Austro Control Dronespace, we reduce the controllers’ workload in the tower, as communications with drone pilots will be handled digitally and automatically via the app, and not via telephone. We are laying an important cornerstone for the safe coexistence of crewed and uncrewed aviation in the controlled airspace and are thus further increasing safety in the vicinity of airports.”

Strategic Contribution to Aviation

Austro Control Dronespace aligns with the Austrian Aviation Strategy 2040+ of the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation, and Technology (BMK). Elisabeth Landrichter, Group Leader Air at the BMK, underlined the significance of this development in advancing drone integration and safety.

Global Recognition

Austro Control Dronespace has already gained international recognition. At the recent Airspace Integration Week congress in Madrid, Austro Control and Frequentis received the AIRSPACE INTEGRATION AWARD 2023 in the UTM category. This award acknowledges innovative solutions for integrating drones into airspace.

Key Features of Austro Control Dronespace

For Drone Pilots:

Effortless Flight Planning: File flight plans and obtain clearances within control zones.
Quick-Check Function: Instantly review relevant airspace restrictions and geographical zones.
Up-to-Date Information: Stay informed about other drone flights in the vicinity.
Operator Registration: Easily register as a drone operator within the app.
For Air Traffic Controllers:

Efficient Clearances: Check and approve flight plans for drone pilots.
Airspace Management: Establish airspace rules and restrictions.
Timely Warnings: Receive notifications about closed airspaces, including short-term closures.
Direct Communication: Interact directly with drone pilots via the app, enabling immediate responses for operations like rescue missions.
Starting from October 24, 2023, digital flight plan filing and approval will be available directly and digitally via dronespace.at. The system will be rolled out in two stages, with the initial phase, including operator registration and the Quick-Check function, activated on October 10, 2023, in the desktop version. The app is expected to be available for download by October 20, 2023.

Austro Control Dronespace is not just a national initiative but an international model for drone traffic management. It demonstrates the commitment of Austro Control and Frequentis to provide security-relevant organizations access to a nationwide uncrewed traffic management (UTM) system, ultimately supporting the safety and convenience of drone operations worldwide.

For more details, please visit Austro Control’s drone website.

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