Russia launches major drone testing project

In Issue38 by FIEA

In an effort to jump-start a drone economy, Russia is investing millions to boost UAS infrastructure.

International Aero Navigation Systems received $7.15 million from Russia’s National Technological Initiative Fund to “accommodate UAS flight design and certification testing [at a] UAS Test Site.” Russia’s Civil Aviation Authority granted IANS permission to conduct drone flight tests and certification procedures.

Located in Orlovka, IANS’s complex will include the Droneport Aeronet as well as a flight test centre and the UAV test site. The project will also use digital platforms for testing – “a software and hardware complex that provides accelerated assessment of UAS compliance with airworthiness standards” via virtual drone tests.

In April, IANS conducted drone tests to address “overcoming the spread and consequences of the coronavirus epidemic.” The test scenario included:

• joint flights of unmanned and manned aircraft
• development of algorithms to improve interaction among emergency workers, police and drone pilots
• delivery of medical supplies and COVID-19 test samples over long and short distances via drone
• disinfection via drone in pandemic hot spots
• population warning drill

Russian officials hope to expand the project by establishing the Russian Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management system (RUTM-1). An NTI statement explains:

“The project will automatically provide airspace for UAS, maintain safe flight separation … and prevent conflicts in the air. It is also planned to create areas of joint air navigation and information services for both unmanned and manned aircraft. Consequently, all necessary conditions for the safe and efficient operation of unmanned and manned aircraft in a common airspace will be created.”

Established in 2012, IANS originated as a research project of Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy. The company owns more than 45 Russian and international patents and certificates. The UAV project shows an increased interest by Russia to ramp up drone tech. Last year, Russian startup Copter Express Technologies launched a crowdfunding campaign to deploy programmable quadcopter kits to students. The project teaches kids how to assemble drones from scratch using open-source software and basic components.


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