Dubai con­sid­ers plan for desert air­field to cater for aerial ve­hi­cles

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - @B_Shosh

Nokia has set out plans for a drone air­field to help reg­u­late a tech­nol­ogy that is of­ten in the head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons.

A se­ries of forced clo­sures of airspace around Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port this year, and Shar­jah In­ter­na­tional on one oc­ca­sion, has sparked calls for bet­ter mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol of un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles.

This week it was an­nounced that the Fin­nish firm and the UAE Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity (GCAA) have signed an agree­ment to look at build­ing a tai­lor-made air­field and ‘droneport’.

It would al­low commercial firms, hob­by­ists and gov­ern­ment depart­ments to fly while hav­ing the sup­port of con­trollers on the ground and a sys­tem to track the de­vices.

Nokia be­lieves the site would lead to par­cel de­liv­er­ies, res­cue op­er­a­tions and field By Shoshana Ke­dem ex­plo­ration, along with pri­vate hob­by­ists.

Among the key changes would be al­low­ing pilots to fly their drone out of sight, us­ing a cam­era to nav­i­gate, which is not cur­rently al­lowed. Con­trollers would also be able to send mes­sages to pilots, in­clud­ing to stay away from no-fly zones and the scene of ac­ci­dents.

Ashish Tan­don, from Nokia Mid­dle East, told 7DAYS: “That’s the big­gest chal­lenge – how do you fly drones beyond the line of sight but also have real-time in­for­ma­tion for the pi­lot so they un­der­stand flight re­stric­tions are not be­ing vi­o­lated?”

Here we look at just how the new drone field would work...

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