Vodafone’s first European trial of Mobile Tracking and Control Technology for long distance drone flights

Hogan Lovells has assisted Vodafone Group in the first successful trial in Europe demonstrating how mobile networks could support the European Commission’s vision of safe long distance drone flights.

Regulators will need technology support to ensure drones are constantly monitored when flying ‘beyond visual line of sight’ (BVLOS) and to enforce no fly zones around sensitive buildings (including schools, hospitals, prisons, government buildings and chemical plants).

Representatives of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Commission observed the latest trials of Radio Positioning System (RPS) at a Vodafone test facility in Aldenhoven. To perform the trial, Hogan Lovells helped Vodafone secure an exemption under the German Regulation for the Operation of Unmanned Aircraft*, which came into force in April 2017. Permission to fly was granted by the applicable regional aviation authority, the Bezirksregierung Dusseldorf.

Vodafone’s RPS uses a 4G modem and SIM attached to a drone, enabling a self-learning artificial intelligence system to calculate the position of the drone. The system will be able to automatically indicate if a drone seems to have veered off an agreed flight path, safeguarding aircraft, civilians, sensitive facilities and other drones.

Hogan Lovells advised Vodafone on the project with a team led by Falk Schöning (Picture).

Involved fees earner: Falk Schöning – Hogan Lovells;

Law Firms: Hogan Lovells;

Clients: Vodafone;