skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider, and the drone airspace intelligence platform provider AirMap, in partnership with the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), have deployed the Swiss U-space flight information management system for drones, referred to as the FIMS.
The FIMS is an aviation data exchange hub that connects skyguide’s air traffic management system to UAS service providers with open interfaces to support safe and compliant drone operations in low altitude airspace. The partners said the FIMS deployment represents a critical milestone in the development of the Swiss U-space Implementation (SUSI) programme, Switzerland’s drone traffic management network infrastructure, and in global UAS Traffic Management (UTM) capabilities.
In March 2018, skyguide and AirMap announced their partnership to develop the first nationwide U-space system in Europe to provide a comprehensive framework to support safe and efficient UAS operations across Switzerland.
U-space complements the safety of traditional air traffic management (ATM) systems by facilitating information exchange and interactions between airspace authorities and drone operators. As part of U-space, the FIMS is a cloud-based, interoperable platform that distributes airspace information, directives, and real-time traffic from skyguide’s ATM systems to drone operators through a network of UAS Service Providers (USPs). Participating USPs connect to the FIMS using open interfaces to provide services that support drone operators in meeting their regulatory and operational requirements. The Swiss U-space FIMS is designed to connect with multiple USPs to support an open, competitive drone economy with a marketplace of drone services.
The Swiss U-space FIMS is a critical building block toward full UTM implementation in Switzerland,” said Klaus Meier, skyguide chief technology officer. “Following the creation of SUSI, the Swiss U-space Implementation framework designed by FOCA to build an open UTM ecosystem in Switzerland, we are delighted to announce the availability of the FIMS open interfaces to connect skyguide with multiple UAS service providers.”
Earlier this year, skyguide and AirMap kicked off a Swiss U-space automated authorisation live market trial. Over 200 operators have joined the market trial and have used the Swiss U-space mobile application to plan their operations and request and receive automated authorisation to fly in controlled airspace near Lugano and Geneva airports, with expansion planned in the near future to additional airports. Swiss U-space UTM dashboards provide air traffic control operators with visibility over UAS flight plans and flight activity in their airspace as well as the ability to manage authorization requests. These are just some examples of the foundational safety services made possible through U-space.
“Switzerland’s FIMS enables multiple USPs to connect to safety-critical airspace information using open and interoperable interfaces to deliver nationwide U-space services to UAS operators,” said Ben Marcus, AirMap co-founder and chairman. “With this new milestone, Switzerland continues to lead the world in rolling out innovative UTM services that foster an open drone economy.”
To share its future vision for UTM, FOCA released the Swiss U-space ConOps in March 2019, which will be a benefit to other countries seeking to emulate Switzerland’s forward-looking approach. In the coming months, skyguide and AirMap will build on the ongoing market trials to move toward full U-space system deployment, currently targeted for early 2020.