DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung based in Langen, Germany, and Unifly NV based in Antwerp, Belgium, signed a cooperation agreement at the World ATM Congress 2017 in Madrid to jointly develop and market a DFS drone app to be released on the German market later this year. This app will allow operators of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to determine where they can operate without posing a threat to manned aviation.
The cooperation between DFS and Unifly to develop this app is the gateway to finding an effective technological solution with a broad range of applications that will enable UAS pilots to operate more safely in uncontrolled airspace. A crucial component of the DFS drone app will be Unifly’s cloud-based software platform. This 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. 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.
“A lot of drone operators do not know where they are allowed or not allowed to fly. Our drone app fills this safety gap by combining our expert knowledge in air navigation with the technical expertise of Unifly, one of the world leaders in unmanned aircraft system traffic management. This app will make it safer to use drones in the future,” explained Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, Chairman and CEO of DFS.
“We are looking forward to working with DFS to develop a product that meets the challenge of safely integrating UAS into the existing system in a practical and effective way. The experience of both partners in this cooperation ideally complements each other,” stated Unifly’s CEO Marc Kegelaers.
DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,550 employees as at 31 December 2016. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at 16 international airports in Germany. The DFS subsidiary, DFS Aviation Services GmbH, provides air navigation services as well as consultancy services.
Unifly, based in Antwerp, Belgium, is a spin-off company of VITO (Flemish institute for technological research) specialised in aviation software development. Unifly is a world leader in UTM (unmanned aircraft system traffic management). The focus of Unifly’s activities is always on safety for all stakeholders involved. Unifly’s innovative tools inform drone operators about where it is safe and legal to fly their drones and enable authorities and other aviation stakeholders to track drone traffic and manage the airspace.