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Nokia, UAE Aviation Authority to collaborate on drone management system

Nokia, UAE Aviation Authority to collaborate on drone management system

The deal follows a number of airspace closures at Dubai International Airport in recent months

Finnish communications firm Nokia has entered into an agreement with the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to develop a drone management system.

The deal follows a number of airspace closures at Dubai International Airport due to unauthorised drone activity in recent months, with the most recent taking place at the end of October.

Read: Dubai and Sharjah International disrupted by drone activity

The unmanned aerial system (UAS) will allow the operation of drones by businesses and government agencies in a secure and managed environment, according to Nokia.

The company said the project was part of Dubai’s 2017 smart city initiative and will allow security network operator Nedaa to develop a network for smart services within the GCAA regulatory framework.

Nokia’s UAV traffic management concept will help manage drones in and around cities, coordinate interactions with people, manned aircraft and connected objects.

The system will also provide automated flight permissions, no-fly zone control and beyond-visual-line-of-sight to ensure safe operations of drones and other aerial vehicles in urban areas.

The firm said it would allow the testing of drone technology while minimising the hazards unmanned aerial vehicles can present.

The traffic management system will be able to monitor airspace and flight paths and share data between UAVs, operators and air traffic controllers to establish no-fly zones that can be continually updated.

“This collaboration with the GCAA, the first of its kind in the world, gives us a unique and extensive test bed where we can trial and refine our UAV Traffic Management system, and shape the future of UAV management overall. This is an exciting opportunity that builds on our strong relationship with the UAE to help facilitate its smart city journey,” said Bernard Najm, head of the Middle East at Nokia.

Earlier this month, Dubai airline Emirates’ executive vice president and COO, Adel Al Redha, complained that flight disruptions due to unauthorised drone activity were costing it millions of dirhams.

Read: Emirates calls for action after “millions of dirhams” lost due to Dubai drone disruption

Airport authorities responded by saying they were testing drone detectors to minimise disruption.

Read: Dubai testing drone detectors after several airport incursions

The Nokia collaboration comes as the commercial use of drones continues to grow.

ABI Research estimates the commercial sector, including agriculture, industrial inspection, and professional videography applications, will account for more than 70 per cent of all small unmanned aerial vehicle ecosystem revenues by 2025.

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