German D3 Technologies is to develop ATM network for eVTOL and drone operations in Canada

  • May 4, 2021

D3 Technologies has been hired by the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM) to identify and implement air traffic management infrastructure to support eVTOL and drone operations in Canadian cities. Starting in Vancouver, the German air traffic control specialist plans to use its automation and data communications technologies to modernize airspace use. D3, based in Munich, claims that its solution entails the development of “digital roads”.  It believes that this will provide the  safety needed to obtain approval for the expansion of advanced air mobility (AAM) operations in urban areas. D3’s work with CAAM is a revenue-generating project and expectations are to demonstrate a proof of concept to regulators such as Nav Canada and unlock potential use cases. CAAM plans to develop an AAM master plan that should cover the first 20 years of the new mode of transportation.

More than 20 partners, including aviation ventures, government departments and universities are setting the groundwork for the expansion of AAM services across Canada as part of a larger initiative spearheaded by CAAM’s subsidiary Canadian Air Mobility and the National Research Council of Canada. CAAM’s long-term aim is to find the air traffic control solution that has the best chance of being implemented in a national framework that could facilitate zero-emission transportation for people and goods in both urban and rural areas .

According to D3 the ATM concept comprises of an integrated air-ground system that allows aircraft to automatically fly their desired routes. The airborne portion will enable the air vehicle to remain on its assigned route while receiving automated updates from the ground on other air traffic, airspace availability and obstacles, ensuring conflict-free trips.

This summer D3 plans to begin a pilot program for its proposed system by equipping one or two airports in the Munich area to conduct trials. It plans to perform a larger-scale device demonstration with a large drone or light aircraft manufacturer in 2022 or 2023. A ground station, communications equipment and onboard avionics make up the integrated ATM kit. The expectations are to expand the project to a larger area by 2022. It is anticipated eVTOL commercial passenger operations to start in 2024.