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04 March 2019

Thales and Telstra link up to enable safe airspace for drones

First published04/03/2019

Thales and Australian mobile network provider Telstra are working together to enable the management of low altitude airspace for autonomous flying taxis, drones and helicopters.

The partnership is investigating how 4G and 5G technology and Internet of Things capabilities could enable robust navigation and monitoring of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – more commonly called drones.

Chris Jenkins, chief executive of Thales Australia, says the partnership intends to help customers integrate unmanned aircraft into controlled airspace and help drone users perform their “missions in an orderly, safe and timely manner”.

Thales and Telstra have developed a prototype air traffic control platform called Low Altitude Airspace Management to integrate manned and unmanned traffic. The firms say it will include automated drone flight approvals and dynamic airspace management.

Australia is not the only country looking to improve the safety of airspace for drones. Last month, US space agency Nasa confirmed it is moving into the final phase of a four-year programme to prove it can safely control drones flying over urban areas.

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