VITO spin-off develops the first drone management platform

The increasing number of drones creates the need for a management platform in order to monitor and integrate them into the airspace in a safe and easy way. A spin-off of VITO, Belgium offers the perfect solution for this. Together with the founders of Flight Plus, entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the aviation sector, VITO is finalising a first round of funding.

Letting drones fly everywhere and safely

The VITO spin-off will soon launch the very first management platform on the market that will integrate commercial drones (RPAS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) safely into the airspace. All commercial drone users will have to register and will then see where they are allowed to fly and which regulations apply.

Via this platform, air traffic control services and government institutions can control and monitor all commercial drone flights. The platform will also allow drone companies to use the airspace in a controlled manner. Moreover, by simplifying the administrative procedures, these drone companies can automatically register all the necessary information and send it to the relevant authorities. A tool that will save time and money.

“VITO has extensive knowledge and expertise in remote sensing and related applications. Drones are being used more and more in this respect. For example for checking high voltage power lines. A safe integration of these drones is essential and we are convinced that this platform offers the perfect solution”, says Walter Eevers, Director Valorisation and Strategic Partnerships at VITO.

Strong interest from the aviation sector

Based on current contacts and agreements with the authorities and stakeholders from the United Kingdom, Belgium and The Netherlands, the first version will be tested in these countries, with the intention to systematically integrate the software in the rest of Europe in a next phase.

Drone manufacturers are also interested. They see the potential of the platform to let drones fly safely, under applicable laws. They believe in this technology and want to be the first to offer the platform to their customers. EuroUSC™, a British drone inspection company with offices all over Europe, wants to be the first in its domain. “EuroUSC™ is excited with the launch of this unique platform that allows commercial drone operators and air traffic controllers to make use of the same airspace. This is a brand new technology that will only reduce the administration without compromising on safety. This platform is good news for the safety and privacy of everyone”, says Michael Maes, EuroUSC.

European recognition alongside Airbus

Flight Plus, Belgium and VITO are the inventors of this software. Flight Plus has many years of experience in the administrative processing of permits to fly drones, worldwide drone legislation, flight operations and Air Traffic Management (ATM).

“With our background in aviation, we know better than anyone that safety and flight coordination are essential to avoid, or if necessary solve, conflicts in the airspace. We make our experience available to the drone industry in a friendly and accessible manner so that it can be used in a safe manner in the European sky”, says Andres Van Swalm, CEO.

In cooperation with VITO and Luciad, Belgium Flight Plus has developed the first version of this software platform that immediately received the runner-up award at the prestigious SESAR SWIM master class 2014, a competition organised by SESAR JU (Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking). It was the only application that won a prize, and moreover, they were only preceded by the European giant Airbus.

Product launch

The name of the platform will be announced in the coming weeks. A press release will then also identify a website & a blog with more information on the product and its launch.

About this article

  • Date: August 5, 2015
  • Source: Press Release
  • Country: Belgium
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