Nokia announced today that it will develop and trial its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) Traffic Management (UTM) system for the use of drones in urban areas, or in places where drones would be near people, manned aircraft, or other drones.
This will take place in Europe’s first testing facility dedicated to the use of UAVs — the Twente Airport, near Enschede in the Netherlands. Under a memorandum of understanding with all parties involved, Nokia will design and deliver the infrastructure to test the Nokia UTM system at the airport through real-life simulations and commercial demonstrations.
Nokia will attempt to demonstrate flight automation, no-fly zone control, and beyond-visual-line-of-sight capabilities that will be necessary to ensure safe operations of UAVs in crowded conditions as well as in rural areas. This will also require the development of dynamic no-fly zones in conjunction with enforcing civil aviation regulations.
Nokia claims its technology is based on a combination of LTE and 5G development and mobile edge computing (MEC) to ensure low-latency and reliability required for air traffic management.
The drones are equipped with Nokia’s UTM modem, enabling them to monitor airspace and flight paths. A Nokia UTM smartphone application works with the UAV traffic management interface to provide drone operators with flight permissions, no-fly zone information, and information about local regulatory rules, allowing for a degree of flexibility.
Nokia claims that this initiative could help lay the foundation for future global standards in automated traffic management for drones in the proximity of manned flight operations.
Nokia, among other companies like AT&T and China Mobile, have been testing drones to help solve networking issues, but this trial differs in that it focuses specifically on safety and regulation aspects.