UK: Vodafone has developed an air traffic control system for drones that would eliminate airport trespassing and narcotics trafficking, and at the same time bring delivery drones closer to us.
Drones usually cannot be tracked by conventional radar systems due to their small size, but Vodafone has created a 4G network SIM card that makes them visible on air traffic control systems and allows operator greater control if they go off course.
The worlds first Radio Positioning System can track a drone in real-time with up to 50-meter accuracy by the operator and authorized bodies like air traffic control. It can force a drone to land automatically or return to the operator if it approaches excluded zones like airports and prisons. It also has an emergency override function.
The phone company has been working with European regulators to create the system and have already tested it on a 1.3-metre wingspan, 2 kg X-UAV drone.
If this new system is embraced by the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA), drone manufacturers will need to create a slot for the SIM card, just like in mobile phones.
Vodafone said the cost of a SIM is still being decided as the technology is still in nascent stages.