Switzerland launches world’s first remote ID network for drones

The world’s first remote ID network for drones recently went into operation in Switzerland. The service, known in full as Network Remote Identification (NET-RID), can be used to share information about drone flights and the operators involved with aviation authorities, enforcers, other airspace users and the wider public. With the activation of the remote ID network, Switzerland is taking an important step towards the introduction of U-space.

Prelude to U-space

The service is the result of a collaboration between AirMap, ANRA Technologies, Avision, Involi, OneSky, Orbitalize, Skyy Network, skyguide and Wing. Under the name Swiss U-Space Implementation (SUSI), these parties have united to roll out the various services that jointly form U-space in the Alpine country. Remote ID, i.e. being able to remotely identify a drone and its operator, is an important part of this.

According to the consortium, the new remote ID service will comply with the U-Space Regulation (EU) 2021/664, adopted by the European Commission, which will come into effect from January 2023. According to the participating parties, NET-RID ensures that drone operations can be carried out safely and in line with regulations by sharing information via the internet. Drone operators can thus easily share information about their flights with airspace authorities, law enforcement agencies, other operators and the wider public.

Sharing information

With NET-RID, all Swiss stakeholders can now see drone operator registration numbers and information related to their flights. Operator information is shared through the Linux Foundation’s InterUSS Platform, an open source platform that allows a U-Space Service Provider (USSP) to obtain all relevant data from other USSPs in real time. This means USSPs only have to share information when necessary and ensure interoperability between all parties involved.

Based on network technology, the NET-RID system is fundamentally different from broadcast remote ID solutions, where the operator’s registration number and the drone’s position are broadcast locally to nearby receivers. According to the SUSI consortium, a network-based system is safer because drone operations can be monitored at a greater distance. The disadvantage of a network-based solution is that the drone must always be connected to the internet (whether or not via the ground station).

Enforcement

The remote ID network will be used, among other things, for enforcement. “With the increasing number of drones operating in the airspace, it is now important to be able to easily identify a drone. Thanks to the remote identification service, we will save valuable time, which is of great value to the Geneva police,” said Philippe Couturier of the Geneva Police.

The Swiss aviation authority FOCA recently launched a drone operator registry, where drone operators operating flights in Switzerland can share their information and receive an identification number. According to SUSI, the new NET-RID service complies with the ASTM F3411 standard, which ensures that only necessary information is shared. This protects operators’ privacy and also reassures the general public that nearby drone operations are safe and compliant.

About the SUSI consortium

SUSI is a public-private partnership between the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, the Swiss ANSP skyguide and thirty-one companies active in the field of drones and UTM/U-space. SUSI was founded in December 2018 with the aim of identifying, quantifying, developing and effectively implementing U-space capabilities and technologies in Switzerland.

(cover photo: Matternet)

Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager is the founder of Dronewatch (available in Dutch and English). Wiebe is an experienced drone pilot (RPA-L certified) and has published a number of books about drone photography and cinematography.

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