The first app-based solution to help drone owners and general aviation (GA) pilots avoid collision has been launched in Switzerland. Jim Drury reports.
A drone striking a plane has long been feared by authorities. App makers Air Navigation Pro and commercial drone firm senseFly say they have an answer. They've developed Safer Together, what they call the first app-based solution allowing drone makers to inform pilots of their presence. Pilots and drone operators will have bi-directional awareness of each other. SOUNDBITE (English) JEAN-CHRISTOPHE ZUFFEREY, SENSEFLY CEO, SAYING: "You get information as a drone operator that an aircraft could be passing by in a few seconds. Then you take manual action like, for example, lowering the flight altitude or bringing the drone back on land. In the future we may imagine automatic collision avoidance procedures or algorithms that will automatically bring the drone closer to the ground." App users receive a series of escalating warnings if they're flying too close to a plane. SOUNDBITE (English) ALEXIS RUYANT, SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER, AIR NAVIGATION PRO, SAYING: "You don't need any specific hardware. All the computation is made server side, so you need your iPad and you need a connection. That's it." For the program to be truly effective, it needs to become the standard system used by all drone makers. But the two firms think Safer Together's low cost and ease of use could make this a reality.