One is able to operate a large number of unmanned systems in parallel and, in particular, safely in the same airspace, that is one of the basic requirements for future business models to become scalable and economically profitable. In other words: For the drone economy, not only is the question of integration into manned flight operations important, the interaction of drones from different operators must also be coordinated in real-time. An exciting pilot project for this has now been started in Israel. In the future, up to 20 drones from five providers will fly over the city of Hadera at the same time. This should be made possible by an artificial intelligence-based Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) from the start-up Airwayzthat can coordinate drones via a mesh network. While test and demonstration flights for drone applications over urban areas in particular often take place at certain times on precisely defined routes, future UAV use in regular operation naturally has uncertainties in store that make rigid route planning impossible.
Rescue helicopters could be used in emergencies or other drones could provide traffic. There are many reasons why temporary obstacles could block a previously planned flight corridor, especially over more densely populated areas. This is where a two-year pilot project started in the city of Hadera north of Tel Aviv. Up to 20 drones from five different operating companies are to simulate different missions at the same time: from goods traffic to medical transports to pizza delivery. And that is coordinated at the same time and depending on the situation so that flight and alternative routes can cross over and over again. The whole thing is made even more difficult by the fact that all five companies use individual navigation and control systems. An autonomously operating UTM system from Airways is supposed to keep the apparently unpredictable “chaos” in the sky in order. The software monitors flight operations fully automatically, specifies flight corridors and any necessary evasive maneuvers. “Drone delivery has the potential to dramatically increase the safety, speed, and efficiency of transportation systems around the world. So far, however, we have only seen pilot projects in which drones move back and forth in a corridor of the airspace. This limits the number of drones that can be deployed in a given area and there is a risk that entire operations will become impossible if any part of the corridor becomes unavailable during the mission, ”explains Eyal Zor, Co-Founder, and CEO by Airways. “The corridor principle is therefore simply not practical for scaling up drone deployments for commercial use. This pilot project will show how drones can work in a network and react safely to real-time situations so that efficiency is maximized at the same time and economically viable drone deliveries are possible. “