Last month, the leading mobile network provider in Poland, Orange Polska (OP), partnered with Dimetor and the Gulf of Finland (GOF) 2.0 EU project to enable safe drone operations in the airspace. Committed to driving innovation with its 4G and 5G networks and services, OP wants to enable new and revolutionary capabilities and values that drones and IoT services in the skies can bring to customers.

Earlier this year, OP's research program started exploring the possibilities of using 5G technology to manage drones, and this partnership is the next step. Together, OP, Dimetor, and GOF 2.0 will provide a platform to "accelerate the airspace digitization and the wide-scale and safe deployment of drone services that will benefit the society in Poland," says Andrzej Zieliński at Orange Innovation.

According to Thomas Wana, co-founder and CTO at Dimetor from 2019 to 2021, the number of registered Polish UAV flights involving professional services, such as inspections, mapping, pollution measurements, and supervision, raised from 30,000 to 550,000. "We see Poland as a fast-growing and strategically important location to build up on our success and enable further BVLOS drone adoption in Europe," Wana added. "With our partner, Orange, we can make sure those flights are safe, and we are aware of any connectivity and ground risk circumstances in time."

To enable drone operations using 5G technology, OP uses AirborneRF, Dimetor's platform that enables 100% connectivity for BVLOS flights. During flight planning, AirborneRF calculates where a UAV can safely fly within the rules and the radio space. It considers national airspace control and the radio coverage delivered by the mobile network operator (MNO) to control the UAV within a three-dimensional safety corridor reliably. Apart from collecting data from different MNOs, this year, Dimetor also welcomed its first satellite communication provider partner, Inmarsat.

Funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, GOF 2.0's focus is on safe, secure, and sustainable integration of unmanned aerial vehicles and air taxi operations in urban airspace. By repurposing already available ATM commercial off-the-shelf components and integrating the latest U-space technology, GOF 2.0 will deliver the technical components to cost-efficiently operate drones BVLOS in the shared airspace.

Last month, OP demonstrated how flight data and anonymized and statistical mobile network data integrate via Dimetor's AirborneRF platform into the airspace management platforms used by the GOF 2.0 partners. Currently, OP is working with Dimetor to analyze the outcome of the demonstration, deliver the technical components needed to provide innovative strategic and tactical services and demonstrate how both manned and unmanned aircraft can safely share the same airspace.