The advance of technology in the past years and the coronavirus pandemic combined have opened numerous possibilities for the commercial application of drones. Logistics, medicine, entertainment industry, security, even infrastructure projects, these devices have a wide useful application.
The data point to the global market of drones reaching a value of USD 58.4 billion by 2026, and, thanks to this wide application, the trend is expected to continue for a number of years.
Increasingly more unmanned aircraft operate the air space worldwide, due to which many countries have recognized the importance of regulation and investment in production. In that segment, Poland is an example with good practices, which have led to considerable recognition in the world market and popularization.
The favorable regulatory policy which is defined, implemented and promoted by PANSA (The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency), in cooperation with other institutions, has created a good legal framework for a wide implementation and popularization of drones. Furthermore, the app for operators, using modern technologies, provides information about the free space for flying in a very simple way, and, when it comes to security, in 44 cities of Poland, there are more than 90 training centers for managing aircraft, due to which the number of incidents is very low.
This kind of a framework has resulted in the launching of the development project worth EUR 13.5 million for the upgrade of the drone industry, signed in 2020 between the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure, PANSA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which provides significant support to companies which record important results in the market.
PANSA – Strategic framework for development of drone industry in Poland
The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency has been controlling the air space of Poland in the past 50 years and is the sixth biggest company of its kind in Europe. As an organization oriented toward security, efficiency and development, it perfectly understands the need for securing the space for an unobstructed air space traffic, also paying attention to sustainable development.
Keeping up with the changes that occurred with the wide implementation of drones, PANSA has strategically turned to providing an adequate environment for the development of industry, both in Poland and in the entire Europe. Their U-space concept is a safe and effective integration and coordination of drones with the existing air traffic, within which an automated digitalized system PansaUTM was developed.
PansaUTM is an integrated part of the Droneradar system, the most popular mobile app meant for operators which control drones. It is the primary source of information and data from aeronautics. The system enables a facilitated flight coordination, providing information about the operators, their licenses, registered drones and important functional aspects of management such as dFPL (drone Flight Plan), BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) and VLOS (Visual Line of Sight), combined with meteorological information, air condition, flight restrictions…
It is a unique digitized system, which is managed by the controller of air space, enabling e-identification and drone location in real time, a virtual perimeter for the geographic area, which helps operators land drones safely, and direct two-way nonverbal communication between the controller of air traffic and the operator through the CDDLC system (Controller-Drone Data Link Communication).
In addition to the PansaUTM system, the company also provides a wide range of products meant for air space management. CAT (Common Airspace Tool), which is used for efficient traffic management through the creation and publishing of reservation plans. Then there’s Pandora, which displays aeronautical information (maps, weather conditions, photographs, aircraft technical data) in real time.
Flight Inspection Services were created for traffic security, a service which provides the validation of instruments for the control of flight procedures and the testing of drone flying systems.
In addition to the technical part, PANSA also offers to its clients consulting services oriented to their needs and training through a system of licensed trainings in flight simulators.
In the field of drone production, among the Polish companies, uAvionics Technologies Ltd should be highlighted, as it is a leader in drone manufacture. The aircraft they produce at their facilities are exported worldwide, and they are most widely implemented in energy, agriculture, border control and security. Certainly, the strongest asset is the Tiguar S-410 drone, pronounced the best in the class of aircraft with a weight of up to 25 kilograms. It can fly for up to 20 hours, that is, 1,800 kilometers, and it has fixed wings. Another interesting product of this company is the Inspector/geomapper drone, a world-class aircraft adapted for photogrammetry with a modular design, which is easy to control.
Soft Blue SA is a company which has been present in the market since 2003. It was founded by the Polish Ministry for Entrepreneurship and Technology and is one of the most important centers for support to innovations, technology transfer and research. The main focus is on the development of software and IT solutions, and their integrated AirDron is in fact an app that has numerous possibilities for measuring air pollution.
The company Prometheus, founded in 2019 by a group of enthusiasts, has presented a new-class drone to the market. Their aircraft are used for the purpose of security in crisis situations. The drones have the possibility of automatic monitoring of people and machines with an innovative technology which has a wide application in reporting law violations or calling emergency services. They have an automatic system for taking off and landing, as well as laser-guided cameras.
An interesting product is offered by Spectre Solutions, with its creation of aircraft that don’t require any infrastructure for support, and which can fly vertically, horizontally, and have the possibility of floating in the air.
In addition to manufacturers, the Polish drone market is also characterized by important companies which offer software solutions, support and components.
The company Aerobits produces ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) systems which are used for traffic control. This technology is considered to be able to fully replace radars in aircraft soon, and the main characteristic of the component from Aerobits is that it is very easily mounted on the control panel. The company also produces components meant for individual operators and drones and the supporting ground infrastructure.
Apptimia develops software solutions for unobstructed flights. Their products are widely used in the USA, and the company employs over 30 experts, which offer the ApptiMap product to the market – software which helps drones collect data.
In the field of physical security, an interesting company is APS (Advanced Protection System), which develops advanced radar technologies for detection of drones and birds. Their main characteristic is that the systems they put on the market are fully produced within the company. From the chips, to the electronics, to the software solutions, which is a true rarity in today’s globalized economy.