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Drohnen-Test über der Kohlbrandbrücke in Hamburg © DLR

DLR tests drones at Köhlbrand Bridge in Hamburg

German Aerospace Center to examine safe use of drones in urban airspace

The German Aerospace Center (DLR), Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and the Center for Applied Aviation Research (ZAL) have conducted tests of drones over Hamburg’s Köhlbrand Bridge to demonstrate the co-operative and safe use of drones in shipping and road traffic. This could lead to increased use of parcel drones, air taxis or unmanned aerial vehicles in the skies over Hamburg making collision avoidance all the more important.

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Tests had been conducted as part of the City ATM project (Demonstration of Traffic Management in Urban Airspace). In late April 2019, two drones flew a route alongside and beneath the Köhlbrand Bridge. The special technology aboard unmanned aerial vehicles flown by the DLR Institutes of Flight Guidance, Flight System Technology, Communication and Navigation enabled position and status determination as well as fail-safe communication (HyraCom) between the drones and the control tower.

Köhlbrand bridge ideal for tests

Stefan Kern, Project Manager with the DLR Institute of Flight Guidance, noted. “We demonstrated under very realistic conditions how with the help of networked flight planning, registration and identification, right through to flight monitoring, conflict detection and conflict avoidance, automatically flying camera drones can operate safely together in urban airspace.” The use of a bridge was an ideal test scenario because the drones had to work very closely and dynamically together, Kern added.

Drones – latest traffic participants

The tests held in co-operation with HPA and its partners NXP Semiconductors, KopterKraft, FlyNex, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung, Zentrum für Angewandte Luftfahrtforschung (ZAL) and Auterion are part of the City-ATM project. Researchers and their partners are working on concepts and technologies for safely integrating drones into urban airspace. The project runs until 2020, when the use of drones for rescue forces will be examined.

Hamburg became one of five German EU model regions for drones in 2018. Urban air mobility was recently added to the agenda of the ITS World Congress (Intelligent Transport Systems), which Hamburg is hosting in 2021. The financial framework for the WinDroVe 2.0 project for the economic use of drones is also being set up. Then possible applications will be explored.

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