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War on drones: UAE-Nokia partnership to stop airport closures

* Dubai airports have been badly affected by rogue drones this year

* UAE aviation watchdog has issued warnings and is in process of finalising laws

* Nokia system will allow safe operation of drones by business and government

Rogue drones have caused turbulence in the airspace of the UAE and have brought its busy airports to a standstill many times this year.

Most recently on October 29 the international airports of Dubai and Sharjah were closed for operations due to unauthorised drone activity resulting in the cancellation and delay of a number of flights.

Also Read: Rogue drone shutters Dubai’s airspace again

The country’s aviation watchdog has issued several warnings to those who operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in ‘prohibited areas’ by law, which include the civil airports, and it is also in the process of finalising laws to regulate the sale of drones and their operations. Earlier this month Dubai airport authorities had announced that they were testing a new system to detect and track drones.

Also Read: Dubai testing drone detectors after several airport incursions

Establishing no-fly zones

But the latest development, a UAE-Nokia partnership for unmanned aerial system (UAS), is a bold step and is believed to have teeth to stop the menace of illegal drone activity.

Leading multinational communications and information technology company Nokia and the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have entered into a strategic collaboration to drive the development of an end-to-end UAS ecosystem, a joint statement said.

The both claim that with the new system in place, UAE will become the first country in the world to allow the operation of drones by both businesses and government agencies in a safe, secure and managed environment.

At the heart of this new ecosystem will be Nokia’s UAV Traffic Management (UTM), which will have capabilities such as automated flight permissions, no-fly zone control and beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) that are critical for the safe operation of UAVs in densely populated urban areas, the Finnish firm said.

The system will be able to monitor airspace and flight paths, and share data between UAVs, operators and air traffic controllers and establish no-fly zones that can be continually refreshed with the latest data, it said.

Also Read: Emirates urge strong measures to stop drone intrusion into UAE’s airspace