Vodafone and EASA working together on airport protection from drones

November 23, 2018 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Vodafone and EASA working together on airport protection from drones
More and more drones are on the move in European air space. In Germany alone, more than one million civilian drones were sold in 2017, and the trend is rising. Because these small objects are increasingly posing a threat to the air traffic in the vicinity of airports, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and telecommunications provider Vodafone are testing ways in which security forces can take over control of these aircraft.

As the drones take to the sky, the demands on legislation and safety systems also increase. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Vodafone are working together on a digital protection system for European air traffic. In the Aldenhoven 5G Mobility Lab, the partners have for the first time in Europe tested the remote control of drones outside the field of vision via mobile radio. In an emergency, drones will also be able to be piloted away from security zones by authorized personnel.

At airports, drones are increasingly becoming a danger. Pilots are reporting more and more hobby drones over German airports. The small aircraft cannot be detected by conventional radar, so they go unnoticed by air traffic control. This year, for the first time, more than 100 of these small flying objects were located in the safety zone of airports, as reported by German air traffic control authorities.

In the 5G Mobility Lab, Vodafone demonstrated how mobile radio can make drone flights over long distances safer. This supports one of EASA's central goals. A digital system is to ensure that drones can be located and monitored if they fly outside the owner's range of vision and are not detected by radar. In the future, digital security zones will also be set up at sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals, prisons and airports.

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