In May, Droniq received the ‘Future Skies’ special award of the European Startup Prize for Mobility (EUSP), an initiative organised under the auspices of the French Presidency of the EU. The company was recognised for its innovative work on integrating unmanned air unmanned air systems (UAS) into European airspace. Droniq is also part of the Alliance for New Mobility Europe, which joined the membership of the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking back in November 2021, reflecting the diversity and evolution taking place in Europe’s aviation landscape. In this interview, Jan-Eric Putz, CEO of Droniq, explains why winning the European prize was so important for the company and his view on the top innovation priorities for the Digital European Sky.
Earlier this year, Droniq received the European Mobility Startup award. What does this award mean for Droniq?
Our goal is to play a decisive and important role in shaping the future of unmanned aviation in Europe. Therefore we work very closely with our industry and aviation partners (manned and unmanned), rulemaking bodies (in Germany and Europe), aviation association and drone operators to make that integration in airspace possible. In this context we are delighted and happy that this work has been recognised by the community and that Droniq was awarded with the European Mobility Startup Award.
What are your unique selling points?
Being No. 1 in providing data quality, digital visibility for all airspace actors and delivering services for professional UAS operations in very low airspace.
In addition, Droniq combines unique expertise from three important domains, namely air navigation service provision, telecommunications and general aviation. With this combination we can support our customers in all areas of drone operations.
Why is air traffic management and its digital transformation important for Droniq?
To ensure safe and efficient manned and unmanned operations, it is essential that we integrate drone traffic management with conventional air traffic management (UTM/ATM integration). This is the vision of Europe’s framework for drone integration, U-space, and without it, it will not be possible to realise the full opportunities of unmanned aerial system (UAS) operations in future. UAS operations have to be possible across all airspace categories, no matter whether it is controlled or uncontrolled airspace.
As a subsidiary of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung, we see it as our challenge to make this possible and find a joined approach, taking all necessities into account and design new, safe, automated and efficient ways making this possible. Safety matters!
Why is it important for Droniq to participate in a European research collaboration such as the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking? Why is it important that the partnership has brought on board new players and companies of different sizes?
The SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking is the expression of the political will to develop and modernise aviation in Europe. Special emphasis has been placed on fully integrating drones in all their forms into the modernising aviation. This is where the relevant stakeholders from all areas can be found, which are needed for the implementation of this ambitious goal.
We very much welcome the fact that different types of expertise and different company sizes are taken into account here. We are also convinced that Droniq can offer innovative technologies and solutions for the modernisation of aviation.
For us, this makes the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking one of the most relevant European development and decision-making platforms. And accordingly, we are very pleased to be able to participate in it.
Also, the drone community as a whole has an innovative and fully digital approach to fly and safety. Therefore it makes sense that we come together as a whole community and ecosystem to work towards the integration with traditional aviation. Since the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking is the key place where this is going to happen it only makes sense to join the partnership under the Alliance for New Mobility Europe.
Which aspects of partnership appeal to you most?
We welcome the opportunity to make new, exciting contacts, share our experiences with them or to enter into collaboration with them, for example, with a view to building the European value chain with regards to all projects and solutions in unmanned aviation.. We are also interested in participating in projects that deal with the future of unmanned aviation and related topics, such as the development of new technologies and learning from each other.
What are Droniq’s top three innovation priorities?
- Digital visibility of all airspace users through the use of existing technology to deliver safety while keeping costs down for all stakeholders;
- A shared view of manned and unmanned aviation on one screen by using multiple sensor data a fuse them into one shared view;
- UTM/ATM integration.
In what areas of the Digital European Sky programme is Droniq particularly interested in getting involved, and why?
All aspects of urban air mobility is crucial for our business, no matter if we talk about setting-up or designing U-space or the integration of vertiports in the current airspace structure – therefore we want to set the scene and participate the Digital European Sky programme.
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