Thales, Telstra Plan Platform for Australian Drone Flight Management
Friday, March 01, 2019 | Comments

Thales and Telstra combined their expertise to enable the management of low altitude airspace for manned and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The companies jointly prototyped a data and communications solution to prepare the way for the integration of manned and unmanned traffic in Australian skies.

The massive increase in commercial UAS, commonly known as drones, will require a new way to manage airspace. Digital technology brings opportunities to manage the complexity of integrating drones in our airspace to enable safe access for their users. The plan is to create a robust digital communications network infrastructure to underpin the navigation and surveillance ecosystem needed to safely manage low altitude airspace.

Thales’ and Telstra’s prototype air traffic control platform, called Low Altitude Airspace Management (LAAM), is capable of integrating manned and unmanned traffic and will include automated drone flight approvals and dynamic airspace management. This collaboration will foster the development and growth of new products, services and innovations.

“With the huge increase in drones in the airspace, flights per day will go from thousands to millions,” said Jean Ferré, Thales vice president, air traffic management activities. “The challenges are enormous, as are the opportunities. In Australia, drone use will drive efficiency and financial benefits to a large proportion of Australian businesses. Thales is partnering with Telstra to contribute to the creation of a seamless sky where we help our customers integrate unmanned aircraft into controlled airspace, as well as supporting drone users to perform their missions in an orderly and timely manner.”

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