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Following on from NASA’s original idea, more than 60 organizations took part in the 1st European UTM Day in Geneva on 27 April 2016.

The objective was to understand what actions need to be taken to safely and efficiently integrate remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft into national airspace systems. UTM encompasses broader aspects too, such as the universal drone registration database, open identification systems, tamper-proof flight data recorders, up-to-date and trusted 3D mapping data, dynamic weather information and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, all of which will be needed to operate future drone traffic management systems.

Simon Johnson, organizer of the European UTM Day, explained that “the Global UTM will be set up as a not-for-profit organization based in Switzerland, with international online working groups that will meet regularly around the world to adopt standards and agree on new topics to be tackled”.

Francis Schubert, CCO of skyguide, commented that “initial solutions to integrate drones into low altitude airspace will be implemented nationally. However, as drone technology and missions are likely to develop rapidly, a global initiative is needed to provide inputs on a harmonized, scalable and future-proof system that can be quickly defined and implemented by regulators worldwide”.

This is a very exciting development, almost breathtaking in the scope of it’s vision. One has to assume that the end game goes far beyond small UAVs and will include the freighters of the future and other aircraft deployed on trans-national missions and in sub-space.
Out of the 60 participants, only four were from the US. Disappointing perhaps but also an indicator of how broadly this is supported particularly in the EU and China. A full list of participants is included in the article.

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