Last month, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s 10 largest telecommunications companies, featured Microdrones in their presentation on CONNECTED DRONES- the safe and fair integration of drones into German airspace via mobile network. CONNECTED DRONES is a joint project of Deutsche Telekom and DFS, Deutsche Flugsicherung.
Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, recognizes the huge potential for the future of unmanned aerial vehicles in the airspace above Germany. There’s a multitude of tasks that drones can currently perform, ranging from their ability to survey industrial sites, film panoramic video, deliver packages, or even help fight fires. The challenge is to monitor that activity, track their flight paths, and ensure safe skies.
One of the other main challenges, once a UAS is airborne, is creating a safe and efficient means to operate the drone beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS.) The remote controls used in current UAVs have limited reach due to a reliance on specific radio links or Wi-Fi. However, the Deutsche Telekom mobile network can provide the resources and infrastructure necessary to operate drones beyond visual line of sight and fly over longer distances.
That’s why Deutsche Telekom and DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), German Air Traffic Control, are working together to track and manage UAV traffic in German Airspace. Together they have developed the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic- Management (UTM) that can locate, monitor and track drones connected over the Deutsche Telekom mobile network.
As these challenges and their solutions were being described at the main press conference for the Mobile World Summit, Microdrones was featured on stage and included in the presentation. Claudia Nemat, Board member for Technology and Innovation demonstrated how a device with a SIM card in a LTE Center, could be attached to a Microdrones md4-1000 allowing the UAS to be tracked by German Air Traffic Control over the Deutsche Telekom mobile network.
At the Deutsche Telekom booth, inside the Mobile World Congress, Microdrones Systems Engineer, Jonas Reitz, helped advance the technology a step further, with a simulated demonstration of the process. Using the Microdrones mdcockpit application, he was able to create a waypoint mission that was uploaded to the Microdrones server, instead of directly to the drone. In the simulation, the server would be able to communicate the waypoint mission and coordinates via Deutsche Telekom’s existing LTE network to the DFS, allowing the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system to track and monitor the drone through the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic- Management System.
Reitz was pleased to note that, “Deutsche Telekom was very impressed with the role that Microdrones played in the overall presentation. We were able to help demonstrate that with Microdrones technology, we are able to support the CONNECT DRONES initiative and provide secure data transfer over the Deutsche Telekom mobile network.”
Vivien Heriard-Dubreuil, President of Microdrones was excited at the prospect of integrating systems with Deutsche Telekom. He explains, “For Microdrones, it’s the combination of two worlds that make the difference: software and hardware. With our mdcockpit application, it’s very easy and precise to track the positioning of the drone, in real time, and relay that data to any interface such as the Deutsche Flugsicherung Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic- Management. Furthermore, the md4-1000 is the ideal UAS for jobs such as this, in that it is capable of extended flight periods, large payloads and very accurate control systems.”
Reitz also confirmed that this is just the beginning of a great relationship with Deutsche Telekom. In the coming weeks, Reitz will help plan an extended beyond visual line of sight mission with the telecommunication company and work towards participating in another large trade show in September.