Joint Finnish-Estonian project granted EU finding: FICORA and Trafi participate in international drone research

Published 14.12.2018

GOF U-SPACE, a joint project between Finland and Estonia, has been awarded EU funding for experimental research on air navigation services for drone traffic, i.e. unmanned aviation traffic. The funding was awarded as part of the Single European Sky ATM Research project (SESAR).

The joint project between the two countries is coordinated by the Estonian Air Navigation Services company, and the participating organisations from Finland are Air Navigation Services Finland, Avartek R. Lindberg, BVDrone Oy, Fleetonomy.ai, the Helsinki Police Department, Robots Expert Finland, the Finnish Air Rescue Society, VideoDrone Finland and the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA). The Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) has been closely involved in the preparation of the project in its own official regulatory capacity.

The drone traffic management project is aimed at testing various new ideas such as drone-driven international package transport over the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki to Tallinn, marine search and rescue operations in the Gulf of Finland, and drone taxi services between Helsinki Airport and Helsinki city centre.

For large-scale drone traffic that operates out of reach of visual communication to be possible, it is essential to develop an air traffic control system for drones and a mobile network that is suited to this purpose. Current mobile networks are designed for use on land, not in the air.

- We need to learn how to ensure that disruptions to mobile networks can be prevented, and what kind of service level is needed for drone traffic. The experience gained from the experiments will also be very important for development of regulations. Our goal with 5G Momentum is to conduct experiments in order to find ways to enable large-scale drone operations as flexibly as possible, says FICORA chief specialist Heidi Himmanen.

- The project aims at a more flexible integration of unmanned and manned aviation. We are now developing systems and their interoperability, and in this context mobile networks make it possible to provide the reliable data transmission that is required by drone control systems, says Trafi chief adviser Jukka Hannola.

Drones – that is, remote-controlled helicopters, unmanned aircraft and model aircraft – are classed as radio-controlled equipment and are subject to the same requirements as other radio equipment. FICORA controls and monitors the use of radio frequencies in Finland. From the perspective of the aviation sector, Trafi is responsible for regulation relating to drones, ensuring aviation safety, promoting the environmental friendliness of aviation, and for measures to help ensure that air traffic operates smoothly.

The GOF U-SPACE project is part of the international SESAR project, which coordinates the development of air traffic management and research on air navigation technology for drones in many projects throughout Europe. Innovative 5G experiments in Finland are contributing to the 5G Momentum ecosystem project. In addition to the development of air traffic control systems for drones, the GOF U-SPACE project is also examining how mobile networks can be used for large-scale drone traffic control.

The joint venture between Finland and Estonia is funded by the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR-JU), which coordinates air traffic management research and development projects in Europe. The project name, GOF U-SPACE, is an abbreviation of Gulf of Finland U-SPACE.

The goal of the 5G Momentum ecosystem is to make Finland a world leader in 5G technology by developing expertise in 5G technology, identifying future opportunities, and cooperating with various actors. In addition to FICORA, which is coordinating the project, three other administrative bodies of the Ministry of Transport and Communications are also responsible for the project’s operations: the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Transport Agency, and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency.

Further information:
Chief Specialist Heidi Himmanen, Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA), tel. +358 29 5390 441
firstname.lastname@ficora.fi
Twitter (at)HimmanenHeidi
Chief Adviser Jukka Hannola, Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi), tel. +358 29 5347 063 firstname.lastname@trafi.fi
Twitter (at)JukkaHannola

link to additional information about 5GMomentum

link to additional information about SESAR U-SPACE demonstrations and Estonian Air Navigation Services

Key words: Spectrum , 5G , 5G Momentum , News

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