Approximately 100,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are already in operation today in Switzerland. Their number will increase sharply in the future because drone technology presents many new deployment possibilities ranging from logistics and agriculture to infrastructure surveillance.
Drones today are allowed to be deployed only under constant line-of-sight visual contact with the pilot. Future applications will lie beyond the range of line-of-sight visual contact. This raises the question of how the navigation and oversight of drones – analogous to air traffic control – is to be organized in the future. What’s needed is a communications network for the identification, navigation and oversight of drones that enables a smooth flow of traffic and above all ensures safety.
Future 5G wireless communication technology could also be employed to monitor drones and could be a core element of an automated unmanned traffic management system for drones.
An in-depth study is to be conducted for the purpose of analyzing the possibilities and limitations of utilizing mobile telephony networks to monitor drones. In the event of a positive assessment, a road map for further research and development will be drawn up.