German UTM system based on FLARM

Droniq, a joint venture between the German ANSP DFS and Deutsche Telekom, is offering the first operational drone traffic management system in Europe and paves the way for safe and efficient drone operations in shared airspace and BVLOS.

Drones are detected with the help of a drone traffic management system (UAS traffic management system, UTM, U-Space) based on DFS‘ air traffic control system and the Deutsche Telekom mobile communications network. For the drone to be detected, the company has developed a special LTE modem with an integrated SIM card, the so-called hook-on device (HOD). After this device is hooked on the drone, it transmits the position of the drone and its identification to the UTM system using the mobile communications network. In addition to basic data, the network can also be used to transfer steering commands and other information.

In the airspace close to the ground, there is currently no radar coverage and airspace users generally fly according to visual flight rules. For this reason, aircraft or helicopters generally use the traffic awareness and collision warning system FLARM which continuously transmits position and other flight data. The devices receive FLARM and forward the data via mobile communications network the UTM cloud. In this way, the drone pilot always receives a precise overview of all flight movements in the vicinity. In addition, the HOD also transmits its own position data via FLARM, so a manned aircraft near a drone with a HOD will automatically receive a warning in the cockpit although he doesn’t even use the UTM.

The first released version of the UTM is available and already being used operationally by companies in the chemical and energy industry. Droniq service covers the entire spectrum for drone flights beyond the visual line of sight.