Drone with camera
Photo: Lightpoet / Panthermedia / imago images
They fly donated blood to hospitals or vaccines in remote areas, measure pollutants in the air and help with the maintenance of wind turbines and rail networks - remote-controlled drones are already being used in many sectors.
The more there are, the closer it becomes in the air.
A large-scale test run was therefore started in Hamburg on Tuesday to make the drone services suitable for everyday use.
So far, many commercial flights often still require individual permits, the requirements for this are high - out of concern about a risk to air traffic.
Time and again, drone alarms lead to a standstill at airports.
Germany's first regular drone airspace - called U-Space - is now being built in the port of the Hanseatic city.
"Among other things, the safe and coordinated interaction of manned and unmanned air traffic is simulated in several flight scenarios," it says.
The project is coordinated by Droniq, a subsidiary of the state-run Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) and Deutsche Telekom.
"In order to fully utilize the economic potential of drones, they have to be easily and safely integrated into existing air traffic," said Droniq boss Jan-Eric Putze.
"The test flights mark the next step towards achieving that."
In the spatially delimited airspace in the Port of Hamburg, thanks to its own traffic rules and procedures, drone flights should be possible safely and without lengthy licensing requirements, even outside the range of vision of the drone pilot.
So far, this has limited the possible uses.
The Ministry of Transport is funding the so-called real laboratory with just under half a million euros.
Four model regions for drone flights
During the test flights, the drone pilots test, for example, evasive action in the air if a helicopter suddenly appears.
"Other scenarios are testing several parallel drone flights including registration and deregistration procedures," said Droniq.
»The drone pilots receive a complete air picture for their flight.
In this way, they can recognize and act on air traffic participants. "
Commercial drone services have great potential for the federal government.
She wants to develop Germany into the “lead market for automated and networked flying”.
To this end, the cabinet adopted an action plan last year.
It is less about the delivery of Amazon parcels or air taxis and more about special applications, for example in energy and agriculture.
To do this, however, it must first be clarified who is allowed to fly where, when and with what.
This is to be tried out in four model regions in the future, including Hamburg, Aachen, Ingolstadt and the north of Hesse.
A test center for drones is also being built in Saxony-Anhalt.
The aim is also to increase public acceptance of the unmanned aerial vehicles.
According to surveys, it has been rather skeptical so far.
fww / dpa