Operation Zenith has shown how drones can be used effectively and safely at an airport, despite busy airspace.
The project held at Manchester Airport, is a product of a partnership between NATS, Altitude Angel and a number of delivery partners.
The day contained eight scenarios for a drone to complete tasks in busy airspace without risk of safety problems.
The scenarios were completed with both cooperative and uncooperative air traffic in the skies to prove that UTM has real capabilities to integrate and connect with numerous detection systems to properly cater for the threat and challenges posed.
Organisers of the scheme were keen to outline how they had used a real international airport in order to make it realistic, acknowledging that a lot of BVLOS testing takes place in segregated airspace.
Powered by GuardianUTM Airspace Management Operating System, a purpose-built platform which allows the secure data exchange between ATM systems and UTM providers, the goal was to be able to deploy Air Navigation Service Providers and provides a fully configurable, standards-compliant platform for ANSP use.
Following the day, organisers confirmed that NATS would roll out the GuardianUTM system across six UK airports next year.
Read CDP’s coverage of Alastair Muir, head of NATS, calling for better tech to ensure drone safety here: