Finnish police successfully test UTM systems during GOF trials

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CK at GOFPhoto: www.is.fi

Unifly is a contributing partner to the Gulf of Finland (GOF) project, one of six U-space demonstration projects. The Gulf of Finland (GOF) U-space demonstration project is funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking. Unifly contributes to the project with its world-leading Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) technology, alongside two other UTM providers.

Consisting of 19 consortium members including two Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), the GOF consortium brings a wealth of Air Traffic Management (ATM) experience and is capable of developing interoperability and data-sharing solutions, which are aligned with the overall U-space architecture.

In recent test flights carried out in Finland in line with the GOF project, Finnish police carried out drone remote sensing missions in cooperation with Traficom, a transport and communications agency, and several industry players as part of a test day for unmanned aerial vehicle traffic control systems.

Drones, otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles, will become increasingly regulated in July 2020 and authorities are preparing for the change.

The biggest change brought about by the EU regulation is that drone pilots will have to register their aircraft. Registration works similarly to the license plate of a car.

“Undoubtedly, it will increase the pilot's responsibility when the pilot’s name is known”, says Jukka Hannola, a leading aviation expert at Traficom.

Under EU regulations, every drone pilot must also take an aviation-related online course and exam at Traficom's online service. Fees are to be decided at a later date by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications.

It is believed that drones can be used for the transportation of goods and possibly for the transportation of people as well in the future. Freight transport was already tested by Finland Post in 2015, and Matkahuolto, a Finnish public transportation company, also reported the latest transport tests last July.

The aim of the authorities is to establish clear rules for the use of unmanned airplanes in what is known as "lower airspace".

In practice, "lower airspace" is the area between the controlled upper airspace and ground level for air traffic.

During the test flights, it was not only drone traffic that was visible on-screen. Other air traffic in the area was also picked up, as the ANS Finland Air Traffic Management (ATM) system was connected to the UTM systems.

By combining all data, the authorities strive to provide a secure, comprehensive and simultaneous view of both manned and unmanned air traffic. Drones are also expected to be able to manage and inspect airports in a more efficient manner in the future.

Additionally, the GOF project aims to test the suitability of a mobile network for large-scale drone operations. Traficom says the goal is to explore how 5G networks could be built to support unmanned aerial vehicles.

One of the participants was Juha Tolvanen from Videodrone Finland, who believes that registration and the introduction of UTM systems will be good for the industry.

"It also provides security for private pilots, because they will also see who is flying in the same area in the future", Tolvanen says.

According to Tolvanen, new regulations are needed because although professionals know how to conduct themselves in regard to aviation law, hobbyists are often completely unaware of the rules and practices in aviation.

Sami Hätönen, Superintendent for Police Coordination and Development of Unmanned Aviation, said the day's tests went well.

“The results were exactly as we expected, that is, we got all the drones in the air visible and identified in the system”, says Hätönen.

A total of six drones took off during the day, each with its own unique identification. For some drones, the pilot's name and phone number, which appeared on the remote identification, were pre-recorded in addition to the aircraft ID.

According to Hätönen, UTM systems are beneficial to police forces, as they allow them to create a flight restriction area for traffic accident sites, thereby guaranteeing peace of mind and securing the privacy of the parties involved.

The no-fly areas and new announcements of the temporary no-fly areas can be found on the droneinfo.fi website maintained by Traficom. The website also features instructions on how to safely fly a drone.

 

Original article can be found here (in Finnish).