February 01, 2021

How is Wing helping to build UTM in practice?

While Wing is most commonly associated with its drone delivery services, we are also working to help lay the foundation that will enable manned and unmanned aircraft to safely share the sky. All around the world, Wing is building technology, supporting research and sharing best practices to help enable an open UTM ecosystem. This UTM ecosystem (called U-space in Europe) will not only support drone delivery, but also the broader commercial and recreational drone community.

We believe that by developing, demonstrating, and launching UTM capabilities, the drone industry can help inform policy debates around the world and pave the way for safe airspace integration. Some of Wing’s global UTM initiatives include:

United States. Alongside industry partners, Wing has helped the FAA build an industry ecosystem for digital flight authorizations in controlled airspace. This system is known as Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, or LAANC. Drone operators can digitally request authorization into controlled airspace, often near major urban airports, and can receive automatic authorization. Wing has also participated in NASA and FAA demonstrations of conflict detection, showing how UAS Service Suppliers (USS) can digitally share information to help drones avoid each other and manned aircraft, and has coordinated trials of remote identification to show how people on the ground can identify nearby drones with their smartphones.

Australia. Wing has helped the regulator, CASA, build a system for authorities to communicate important information with USS and drone operators. This system, the RPAS Platform, helped to kickstart an ecosystem of third party USS that will support a range of different drone operators. In addition, Wing has made its own USS, OpenSky, freely-available to help recreational and commercial drone operators check safe areas to fly.

France. Wing is helping the national air navigation service provider, DSNA, build a similar system for authorities to communicate with USS platforms and drone operators, including in complex cross-border airspace. Under a program called U-space Together, Wing is developing a framework for automated airspace access to manage commercial and recreational drone traffic within controlled airspace in Europe.

Switzerland. Wing is working with the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA)to demonstrate a U-space ecosystem that promotes safety, innovation and diversity. Wing has coordinated trials of remote identification to show how people on the ground can identify nearby drones with their smartphones. These trials led to a roll-out of network remote ID across Switzerland, which improves security, protects privacy and keeps the skies open to hobbyists.

United Kingdom. Wing is working with Connected Placed Catapult, backed by the Department for Transport, to demonstrate how USS can obtain and share information in an open and scalable way. This Open-Access UTM project will help authorities in the United Kingdom to develop UTM policies that support the safe, open and secure use of airspace by all users.

Standards. Technical standards are detailed specifications developed by industry to help promote consistency and interoperability. Internet protocols, like http, are a good example, as a uniform set of standards supports communication in any country. Likewise, regulators, Wing and other manned and unmanned industry leaders are working to develop standards for UTM. These standards will help UTM providers to meet performance requirements set by the regulators. If these requirements are harmonized across the globe, a drone operator from the United States can use the same tools to fly with confidence when she's on vacation in Australia.

To see more on how Wing is working with partners around the world to safely integrate drones, visit wing.com/AviationPartners.

Worker using the OpenSky app to find where it is safe to fly for work that day