Imagine a system that operates as a mobile phone application and/or computer program, which displays a map of an area with restricted areas marked, and which also displays real time data on drones currently in the air. For authorities, it is a system that enables them to enforce flight safety and other regulations – keeping them constantly in touch with drones in the air. For flight operators, it is not just a map, but an interactive rulebook alerting them of where they can and cannot fly and when. All these stakeholders operate simultaneously, enabling the lower skies to offer their full commercial potential with maximum safety and efficiency.
Considering all five of the key components of a UTM system listed here, it is clear that we are not there yet. Running UTM systems in parallel to ATM is one thing, but webbing UTM into the ATM structure brings in significant regulatory hurdles and technological boundaries over from the manned aviation industry. Nevertheless, the potential of a comprehensive, reliable, and automatized UTM system is so immense that it is an important aspect of the drone industry to keep your eyes on.
DRONEII’s token social scientist, Millie Radovic has a BA in International Relations from King’s College London and an MSc from the University of Oxford. Earlier, she amongst other things researched Science & Tech policy for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels. At DRONEII she particularly looks at drones and international development & global health projects.