After exploring what drone regulation looks like for commercial drone operators across Europe, it’s clear that each country in Europe looks at what it means to legally operate a drone in a different manner. However, one thing they can all agree on is the need for operators to stay safe when they take to the sky, regardless of when or how they’re flying. That’s why the app that DFS and Unifly have teamed up to develop and market is such a big development.
DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung and Unifly NV have announced they have signed an agreement to work together to develop and market a DFS drone app to be released on the German market later this year. Deutsche Flugsicherung is the company in charge of air traffic control for Germany, while Unifly NV is developing software applications that facilitate drone traffic in the very-low-altitude airspace.
The “DFS Drohnen App” is based on the existing UniflyLaunchpad app which is already available for the international market. The app helps UAS operators simply and easily determine how to stay safe in the air. A crucial component of the DFS drone app will be Unifly’s cloud-based software platform. The platform allows drone operators constant access to an interactive map where they can easily and reliably obtain information about areas where drones can be used safely and legally as well as areas where their use is restricted or prohibited.
Unifly’s CEO Marc Kegelaers mentioned that the team is looking forward to developing a product that will help UAVs safely integrate into the existing airspace system, but he was able to further detail what this news mean for operators and to the market as a whole.
“In the world of manned aviation, every pilot is required by law to prepare his flight thoroughly to ensure that it can be executed safely,” Kegelaers told Commercial UAV News. “Ideally, drone users should do the same, since manned and unmanned aircraft share the same airspace. However, the information that is available to pilots is delivered in a format that supposes the recipient was trained in aviation matters and has a deep knowledge about Aviation Law. In other words, the material available to pilots is unreadable unless you’ve had a pilot training. Most drone users haven’t.”
The challenge here is how to get real aviation information into the hands of non-aviators so that they can make a valid decision about the safety of their intended flight. It’s a challenge that Unifly is directly meeting with the development of this app.
“The app uses real aviation data and combines it with the relevant drone legislation to validate if a flight can occur safely or not,” Kegelaers continued. “The drone user does not need training – nor does he need to know about the specifics of the drone legislation. The app knows.”
Some commercial drone operators struggle to fully grasp the legal and technical nuances that comes wit operating a drone, and this app is designed to specifically address those issues. Doing so will ensure operators of all experience levels are able to simply and easily stay safe in the sky, which will in turn lead to much bigger developments.
“The Launchpad app is part of a complete UTM architecture that not only seeks to inform private drone users, but also has functionalities for ANSPs, professional drone users and even rescue services,” Kegelaers said. “We can connect to drones for flight tracking and geofencing. We are continuously adding functionality to make it a feature-rich product.”
The drone app should be available in Germany in the second quarter of 2017. Remote pilots who use the app to register with DFS may use the basic version without charge.