Belgian air traffic control sets eyes on better drone safety

Belgian air traffic control sets eyes on better drone safety
New European drone rules will go into effect in July 2020. Credit: © Belga

Skeyes has created a new subsidiary, grouping together all its activities related to drones, the autonomous public company in charge of air traffic control in Belgium announced on Friday.

The new entity, SkeyDrone, will thus focus on unpiloted air traffic.

Skeyes feels unmanned aerial vehicles need to be integrated safely and efficiently into the existing air traffic. The company has thus invested in this sector, for example by launching Droneguide, an application that enables pilots to check when and where they are authorised to fly, and with which plane. Professional users can also obtain the necessary authorisations and notify the relevant authorities of their flights in the app.

Various ongoing projects have been testing practical applications with drones in real conditions, such as inspection flights over ports, the delivery of medical packages, and cooperation between security services. Skeyes will now group together all these activities within SkeyDrone.

For now, Skeyes is the sole shareholder in SkeyDrone, but in a second phase, it will be looking for public and private (industrial) partners in order to access the knowledge and skills needed for the subsidiary.

Services the new company will be providing include aerial navigation services for drones. While it will not be the only player on the market, it will no doubt have a key role to play given the expertise of its parent company as an air traffic controller, the experience it has acquired with drones, and the existing collaborations within the sector, Skeyes argued.

SkeyDrone will also focus on services aimed at making critical infrastructure such as airports more secure against intrusions perpetrated using drones.

The Brussels Times

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