Air traffic controllers in the UK are joining together with a start-up company in a bid to put an end to drone dangers.
It is working with UK-based Altitude Angel to develop unmanned traffic management solutions that can be integrated and interact with conventional air traffic control.
It marks a shift in thinking by the aviation industry, which has so far fought for tougher rules on drone use.
Instead, this partnership recognises the ‘huge potential benefits’ of drones to public services and the economy and aims to ‘merge two information streams to increase situational awareness amongst all legitimate airspace users’.
NATS said the partnership ‘lays the foundation for a future whereby access to lower level airspace could increasingly be granted digitally’.
“The increasing popularity of commercial drone operations and the growing number of drone-related incidents makes it essential that we take steps now to help make this happen and this new partnership will get the UK’s unmanned traffic industry off to a safe, flying start,” said David Harrison, NATS director of safety.
Reports of incidents involving drones flying dangerously close to manned aircraft is on the rise, with drone incidents now accounting for more than half of all airprox reports received by NATS.