Civil Aviation
ICAO focuses on drone traffic management
ICAO focuses on drone traffic management
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ICAO focuses on drone traffic management

In September, the International Civil Aviation Organization will host a symposium on issues related to unmanned aircraft traffic management systems.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has announced Drone Enable, a symposium on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to be held from 22nd to 23rd September at ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

The symposium aims to provide an opportunity for states, international organizations, industry, academia and other stakeholders to share their research, best practices and lessons learned related to unmanned aircraft traffic management systems (UTM). In this way, ICAO hopes to shore up investment confidence for UAS businesses.

Speakers will be selected based on maturity of proposed solutions, potential for global application as well as supporting infrastructure requirements.

Attention will be given to defining a framework for a UTM environment. Key supporting functions, such as a registration system, ability to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft, communications systems and geofencing-like systems, will be included. ICAO has already started to establish low-altitude traffic management guidance for domestic unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

ICAO notes that, because of their size and operational profiles, unmanned aircraft and prototypes generally do not fit the definitions for normal aircraft operations established under the Chicago Convention. To address that fact, and better accommodate the speed being seen in UAS innovations, ICAO says it will adopt a more responsive Request for Information process focused on specific problem statements relating to low-altitude UAS operations.

ICAO's focus on this topic reflects the multiple unmanned aerial taxi projects currently in the pipeline. In the UAE, for example, China's Ehang 184 project (photo) is tentatively scheduled to begin carrying travellers from the city’s main airport to downtown Dubai as early as July of this year.

Flying taxi projects were also in the news on the occasion of the recent Uber Elevate event in Dallas.

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