Droniq GmbH and DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), the German air navigation service provider, have been awarded an innovation prize by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) as part of the real laboratories initiative. Real laboratories are testing grounds for innovation and government regulation in Germany. Droniq and DFS won their award for the U-Space Real Laboratory Hamburg. As part of this real laboratory, it was demonstrated for the first time how a U-Space can function in practice.
The Real Laboratory Hamburg is one of the 10 winners of this year's innovation prize for such real laboratories. This is the second time that this award has been held. The aim of the innovation award is to make real laboratories visible, to honour innovative ideas and to encourage new real laboratories.
More than 100 projects throughout Germany
A high-calibre jury of experts chaired by Dr Anna Christmann, Member of the German Bundestag and the Federal Government's Coordinator for German Aerospace Policy, selected the prize-winning projects in the competition. Throughout Germany, more than 100 start-ups, companies, associations and research institutions submitted their projects for this national award.
In their real laboratory, set up with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), Droniq and DFS demonstrated for the first time how the European Union's U-Space concept can work in practice. From 2023, these U-Spaces, in essences airspaces for drones, can be set up in Europe. These areas will allow drones to be safely and efficiently integrated into airspace, including the interplay with manned aircraft. This will enable the regular use of drones, for example in logistics, agriculture or in the medical sector.
The findings of the real laboratory were handed over to the Ministry by Droniq and DFS as recommendations for action. The BMDV is using these to develop a concept for the nationwide establishment of U-Space areas.
"An important part of future air traffic"
"At Droniq, it is our aspiration not only to accompany the future of the drone market, but to actively shape it and advance the market through new approaches," said Droniq CEO Jan-Eric Putze. "With the real laboratory, we have shown what one of the next development steps for the drone market looks like. We are delighted to have been entrusted with the implementation of this project on behalf of unmanned aviation."
"Unmanned aviation is an important part of future air traffic," added Arndt Schoenemann, CEO of DFS. "To integrate unmanned aviation safely into existing air traffic, we have combined our experience from manned aviation with innovative technological solutions within the framework of the real laboratory. Alongside drones, we will also experience important developments in other fields over the next few years as aviation is becoming increasingly autonomous. We are proud to be at the forefront here."
For more information on the real laboratory, please visit the project website at www.u-space-hamburg.de
Description of visual: Illustration of the U-Space real laboratory. Image rights: Fabiano Waewell / EyeEm via Getty Images
About the U-Space real laboratory Hamburg project
Last year, Droniq and DFS demonstrated for the first time in Germany how a U-Space can be put into practice in accordance with the requirements of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). To this end, the companies set up a U-Space real laboratory, or sandbox, in the Port of Hamburg. The role of the U-Space service provider (USSP) was taken on by Droniq, while DFS acted as the single common information service provider (SCISP) for the project. The seven-month project had a budget of approximately EUR 1 million and was funded in part by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). The sandbox was implemented together with numerous project partners. These included the Hamburg Port Authority AöR (HPA), HHLA Sky GmbH, the Hamburg Ministry of Economics and Innovation, Hamburg Aviation, as well as the UDVeo project consortium.
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DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,600 employees as at 31 December 2021. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,200 air traffic controllers guide more than three million flights through German airspace in peak years, up to 10,000 every day. The company operates control centres in Bremen, Karlsruhe, Langen and Munich as well as control towers at the 15 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. DFS is working on the integration of drones into air traffic and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom. Other subsidiaries include R. Eisenschmidt GmbH, which markets publications and products for general aviation, and Kaufbeuren ATM Training GmbH (KAT), which provides training for military air traffic services personnel. The joint venture FCS Flight Calibration Services GmbH offers flight inspection services. www.dfs.de
Droniq GmbH is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and is a joint venture between DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS) and Deutsche Telekom AG. The object of the company is the provision, distribution and marketing of services for drones and other aircraft in Europe. DFS holds a stake of 51 percent through its subsidiary DFS International Business Services GmbH, while Deutsche Telekom holds a stake of 49 percent through Telekom Innovation Pool GmbH. www.droniq.de