HERE and Flynex partner to map German airspace in 3D for UAVs

The “DaViLus” (Data Visualization of the Airspace structure) mapping project is supported by the German Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

HERE and Flynex partner to map German airspace in 3D for UAVs
HERE and Flynex partner to map German airspace in 3D for UAVs

HERE and Flynex partner to map German airspace in 3D for UAVs

HERE Technologies and startup specialized in drone flight planning, FlyNex, are mapping German airspace in 3D. The “DaViLus” (Data Visualization of the Airspace structure) mapping project is supported by the German Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

This map relies on location data from HERE. With its highly accurate 3D object data in the lower airspace, HERE is best positioned to power the development of a map that enables unmanned aircraft, such as drones, to safely maneuver through densely populated environments with potential obstacles, such as cityscapes.

FlyNex is a leading expert when it comes to planning unmanned drone flights. The company has already enabled a German utility provider to conduct maintenance flights of its power grid with drones, replacing a time-consuming and costly process.

Usually, utility poles and the power grid have to be inspected by maintenance teams that physically access each individual pole or fly over them with helicopters. Using drones saves 90% of the time the manual process would take and saves up to 70% of the costs.

The combination of these two areas of expertise, precise 3D mapping and accurate location information with the ability to plan autonomous drone flights efficiently, was key for making the DaViLus project a success.

The need for precise lower airspace data is there

Many are familiar with 3D representations of the road network, however, similar maps do not yet exist for the lower airspace. Unmanned aerial vehicles, such as drones, have to be able to locate themselves, taking into account multiple constraints.

Just as for any other aircraft, there are no-fly zones which drones are not allowed to penetrate. In contrast to human-piloted aircraft, unmanned flights require precise information – exact position, height, shape – of objects on the ground, such as buildings, bridges, trees, streetlamps or billboards.

DaViLus is now offering these highly precise location-based datasets that are essential for an unmanned drone to navigate autonomously through the airspace.

“As the drone use case nicely shows, as soon as something moves, it needs location intelligence to do so efficiently and safely. With FlyNex, we are expanding to the skies the location expertise we have acquired on the road”, says Mark Yao, Director Product Management for 3D at HERE Technologies.

“With our 3D map of the lower airspace, drones and unmanned flight systems can now move safely. We are proud to be able to offer navigation options for commercial drones for the first time, enabling companies to move forward in creating new services utilizing autonomous flying drones,” explains Andreas Dunsch, CEO of FlyNex GmbH. 

The NBS Northern Business School gGmbH and its Institute for Unmanned Aerial Systems (IuS) from Hamburg is also supporting this project.