Launching the Fourth Phase of the National Drone Initiative
“This is another significant milestone: during this trial drone flights will also take place at night, as well as flights in which cargo will be delivered directly via winches to the end customer. All partners in both public and private sectors are establishing an innovative model for drone manufacturers and operators, as well as the Israeli public.”
Israel’s National Drone Initiative, which began its flights over urban areas in January 2021, launched on Sunday, December 19th, the fourth phase of its pilot program, involving five companies that manage and operate autonomous drone networks awarded by the Israel Innovation Authority’s grant via its Pilots Program as well as other companies and organizations with a drone fleet who are interested in taking part in the world’s leading civilian drone delivery pilot.
Starting Sunday, December 19th, for a duration of two weeks, flights will take place day and night above Gush Dan and Yeruham, in order to integrate the use of drones in routine activities such as transportation of basic products, first aid; deploying a drone attached to a vehicle for real-time monitoring of traffic movement with AI-based elements that can provide forecasts, and much more.
Dror Bin, CEO, Israel Innovation Authority: “In the framework of the fourth phase of this pilot program, the drone initiative is taking one step forward with additional missions and challenges and expanding the operational envelope and the potential civilian uses of drone technology. This is another significant milestone, in which all the partners in both public and private sectors are establishing an innovative model for drone manufacturers and operators, as well as the Israeli public. This kind of cooperation is a catalyst for additional entities, such as rescue services and local authorities, as well as other commercial entities, to undertake and to experience the capabilities and potential that is latent within and demonstrated by this trial.”
Eyal Bilia, Ayalon Highways Acting Vice President of Technology and Innovation: “The National Drone Initiative of the Ministry of Transport, Ayalon Highways, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Smart Mobility Initiative and the Israel Innovation Authority is part of a project to deal with traffic congestion on the roads. First, by proving the ability of the drones’ operational system to monitor events and to analyse traffic congestion from Ayalon Highways’ Gush Dan Metropolitan Traffic Management Center at Savidor. And second, by proving its ability to assist in the delivery of small goods in city centers through paving virtual lanes for drones. Research has found that 20 percent of the congestion problems in city centers stem from the movement of small goods. Therefore, the deployment of drones can assist in two ways – through monitoring and analysis and the operational aspect of creating new transportation lanes that will ease the existing congestion while building regulation that will support their ongoing operation in general areas of urban transportation.”
Joel Feldschuh, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority: “The Civil Aviation Authority is an active partner in the National Drone Initiative and through risk management process enables looking into future models of operating commercial drones backed by relevant regulations. The 4th phase of this pilot takes another step in examining future control architecture in the domain of urban deliveries via drones.
The State of Israel is apparently the most advanced state in the world when it comes to practically examining the anticipated architecture of control in unmanned airspace (U-Space) – which is being examined considering the new European regulations published by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The CAA is adjusting these large pilot testings in accordance with the future legislative outline, and in so doing is preparing and “ripening” the Israeli market – both so that Israel will be ready for urban drone deliveries, and that drone companies will be able to move forward in the international market, without compromising on the requirements for safe operation for the public and the manned aviation field.”
Israel’s National Drone Initiative, which originates in a partnership between the Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Transport (through Ayalon Highways), the Civil Aviation Authority, and the Smart Transportation Administration, was established with the goal of advancing the deployment of drones for the public benefit, in order to assist in reducing congestion on the roads and to establish a national network of airways that are managed for the purposes of transporting medicines, vaccines, tests and medical equipment, retail market shipments, and more.
The companies participating in the trial:
- High-Lander Aviation Ltd – This company facilitates advanced autonomous aerial command & control systems to manage a fleet of drones and currently operates one of the world’s leading UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) solutions, providing autonomous solutions in the areas of Delivery, First Response, and Public Safety. The system controls the aerial space and all the missions in real time and completely autonomously. Cando Drones is an aerial drone company that builds and manages a fleet of autonomous drones. Cando Drones provides accessibility to a complete and optimized solution (Turnkey), which includes: organization of the aerial space, dealing with regulation, outlining the solution and integration of the systems, managing ground logistics, implementation, professional and technical training and support. The types of projects the company deals with includes integration of drones in the fields of security, delivery, and mapping.
- Flightops/Simplex Interactive – FlightOps.io and Simplex are the first companies in Israel to receive approval for group flights of unmanned aircraft missions beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS), and since then have carried out hundreds of operational sorties in complicated urban areas. The company develops unique technology for controlling hundreds of drones in the joint aerial space and is involved in many operations in Israel and the United States. Flightops’ technology controls the challenging and complicated aerial space in Tel Aviv and its surroundings, allowing delivery services and the use of commercial, optimized drones for all the companies participating in the project.
- HarTek Technologies Ltd. – HarTek Technologies develops advanced command & control systems for autonomous management of unmanned aerial, sea, and land platforms. In the framework of the pilot, HarTek is demonstrating an autonomous command & control system for operating and managing various types of drones in a managed airspace. This includes execution of multiple tasks by drones in full autonomous coordination, controlling the space and complying with safety regulations, while factoring in aircraft operated by other parties.
- FlyTech Company (F.T. Aerial Solutions Ltd.) – FlyTech specializes in remotely operating manned aerial platforms for civilian and security applications. It operates in the fields of civil engineering and building, agriculture and renewable energy, and security and safety. The company leads in the field of air transport services to the civilian world and has a permit to operate drones beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) and is the first to authorize a drone operator for beyond-visual-line-of-sight air transports.
- Airwayz Drones Ltd – Airwayz Drones has an artificial intelligence-based system for the smart management of airspaces and drone fleets. The pilot is being carried out using the company’s two systems: the MetroDome system for dynamic management of an airspace full of drones, using advanced artificial intelligence that ‘learns’ the airspace and manages the different flight control systems, synchronizing them in the city’s skies, and the Metrofleet system for the autonomous operation of a drone fleet for different missions in the smart city.
- Skylinx Technologies Ltd – Skylinx is building the required technological infrastructures and services to allow the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (mainly drones), with an emphasis on operation in urban areas, with the goal of allowing continuous and secure operation for different operators and uses.
- Blue White Robotic (BWR) – Blue White Robotic develops autonomous tools and control systems for swarms of drones on the ground and in the air, designed for both agricultural and urban settings. As part of the pilot program, the company will demonstrate its ‘Soteria’ system, which allows autonomous 24/7 planning, control and monitoring of a large number of drones of different types and for different tasks in the same airspace.
- Wonder Robotics Ltd – This company will demonstrate its precise, autonomous, and secure landing ability, while “identifying and cleansing from the landing area,” using an algorithm from the area of artificial intelligence/computer vision.