Thales performs autonomous drone flight trial in Taiwanese airspace

Thales performed a real-time autonomous drone flight monitoring trial in Hsinchu, Jianshi Township, in the presence of Mr. Wang Kwo-Tsai, Minister of Transportation and Communications, and key delegations from Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).

The trial showcased the Thales ScaleFlyt Remote Identification tracker affixed to a drone, under the monitoring of the Thales TopSky – UAS Traffic Management (UTM) solution.

What does the successful trial mean Taiwan?

The use of drones in Taiwan enables a wide range of use-cases and creates tremendous opportunities – from efficient goods distribution to maintenance, monitoring and labour management– but also brings the challenges of managing an increasingly complex urban airspace. UTM involves the safe and efficient integration of UAVs into civilian airspace.

With the help of IoT tech, drone operators and civil aerospace authorities can monitor unmanned air traffic securely and in real-time, while ensuring the safety of its citizens.

As part of a project from Chunghwa Post and the Coretronic Intelligent Robotics Corporation (CIRC) to establish a “Logistics Supply Mechanism for Remote UAVs” in Jianshi Township, Thales showed its integrated UTM and Remote Identification tech for the first time in Taiwan.

During this trial witnessed by key delegations from the Ministry of Transport and CAA, two drones from Coretronic equipped with the Thales ScaleFlyt Remote Identification tracker took flight from the Jianshi Post Office in Hsinchu to a village 8.5km away from Jianshi township.

What were were the specifics of the trial?

The demonstration showcased various real-life and stress-test flight scenarios, including geofencing and mission deviations and was monitored in real-time using Thales’ TopSky – UAS Airspace Manager UTM solution. TopSky enables safe Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) autonomous drone operations and guarantees that drones comply to regulations and to stipulated flight plans, thereby giving operators access to secure low altitude airspace.

The two drones were identified and their positions monitored in real-time with the Thales ScaleFlyt Remote Identification tracker. Weighing less than 70 grams and featuring the Network remote ID function through LTE-M / 2G, the RemoteID acts as a beacon, allowing authorities to identify, monitor and track the drones in operation, in real time.

Fitted to a drone, the tracker is the most visible asset of a complete IoT ecosystem featuring a cloud-based web server access and a mobile application so drone operators can register their drones and also track their own fleet of UAS. All communications are end-to-end cyber-secured, guaranteeing privacy. In Taiwan, Thales will also establish a drone control centre in Thales’ office in Neihu, which will simulate the environment and functionality of a UTM Centre.

Thales is a leading expert in drones’ management, having demonstrated and implemented UTM solutions in various countries such as Australia, France and the United States.

“Many governments are currently developing regulations that require drones to be equipped with remote identification capabilities, while also managing the safety of an increasingly congested civil airspace“ Alain CORREIA, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Thales in Taiwan.

“As the incumbent Air Traffic Management supplier in Taiwan, Thales is helping ANWS manage over 70% of Taiwan’s civilian airspace. Our expertise in air traffic coupled with our knowledge of unmanned systems puts us in a leading position to support the Civil Aeronautics Administration and ANWS as they drive Taiwan’s ambitions in the unmanned airspace sector.”