Israel’s National Drone Initiative is investing ILS60 million with 10 companies as part of a pilot project to examine the use of large cargo drones and passenger-carrying flying taxis in controlled airspace, reports israeldefense.co.il. The sum is equivalent to around UKP15 million.

This is the Initiative’s second phase of trials after successfully completing the first between 2020 and 2022. Over 15,000 drone flights were carried out in various locations across Israel: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Hadera, Ramat Hasharon, Herzliya, Modi’in, Yeruham and Beersheba, as well as in 18 medical institutions throughout the country.

Beginning this January, a number of companies are to participate in one week of flights across the country, every month, for the next two years or 24 major trials in total. The tests will take place nationwide under managed airspace.

The drones are to carry heavier loads, including some that in the future will be capable of passenger transportation. This pilot is to be carried out in cooperation with the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), the Israeli Air Force, Israel Airports Authority (IAA) and other relevant regulatory entities.

(image: Airwayz)

The companies involved are:-

: Airwayz Drones has an AI-based system for smart management of airspace and drone fleets. The company will operate two systems: one for the dynamic management of the drones’ airspace and a fleet management system for the autonomous operation of drone fleets for various tasks within the confines of a smart city.

: F.T. Aerial Solutions is working to provide remotely operated aircraft services. The company offers operations, training, implementation and integration services to supply the best possible solution for each client. It is active in civil engineering, construction, agriculture, renewable energy and the safety and security industries.

: Elsight provides a reliable and secure communications solution for the drone industry that allows various parties to carry out BVLOS activities.

: AGL is engaged in the characterisation of systems and control rooms, writing operations and activation procedures for command-and-control rooms and certification training and ongoing professional training for aviation personnel.

: ATI (Air Taxi Israel) is a dedicated AAM (advanced air mobility) company in Israel that works in partnership with relevant aviation companies involved in the project.

: Brook Aviation operates helicopter services. The company will operate an eVTOL fleet alongside helicopters and aircraft based on similar flight characteristics.

: Down Wind is an aircraft manufacturer and air operator specialising in remotely manned aircraft.

: High-Lander provides solutions that enable advanced autonomous aerial command and control for managing drone fleets. The company offers an end-to-end technological solution for autonomous deliveries by drones from real-time loading and autonomous airspace management to their arrival at the destination.

(image: Cando)

: Cando Drones is a drone airline. The company provides a comprehensive solution based on a system that includes the following components: drone capabilities, unique command, and control software for their automatic and autonomous operation, as well as professional guidance for integrating and maximising capabilities in the required activity.

: Robotican develops ground and air-based mobile autonomous robotic systems and is developing fast-response drone-based solutions.

This new pilot aims to expand experiments with long-range aircraft carrying heavy loads. The goal is to create a commercial passenger flying taxi service. Partners include the Israel Innovation Authority, Ayalon Highways, the Ministry of Transportation and CAAI, a unique national and international collaboration between government entities, civil authorities and industry partners.

Dror Bin, CEO of Israel Innovation Authority, commented, “With the end of the first phase of flying drones by different operators in the same managed airspace, Israeli companies are recording impressive commercial achievements in Israel and worldwide.”

He continued, “Israel serves as a model of a country that develops regulations and technologies to enable the management and control of the operation of multiple drones for various needs and is rapidly approaching a continuous operating model that will enable low-altitude flights throughout the country.”

Dror Bin (image: Hanna Taieb)

The areas to be covered in the new pilot include:-

: For the first time in Israel, a demonstration of EHang air taxi drones by Israeli air operators. These flights will be carried out without passengers in the preliminary stages until supporting regulatory approval is obtained.

: The operation of heterogeneous drone networks nationwide in cooperation with national air traffic control authorities.

: Drone flights of different models, types and operators in controlled airspace.

: The development of customer identification applications (Proof of Delivery) to advance the implementation of commercial services.

: Initial attempts at planning and implementing vertiports for heavy electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

: Demonstrating technologies and innovative operating concepts to create and promote aerial logistics networks.

At first, flight tests will be carried out in areas without human presence. Later ones will occur out over sparsely populated areas with the goal of working up to demonstrating services within urban areas.

Ayalon Highways will continue to serve as the “beta site” for the tests and will facilitate the oversight of the operations from its Command and Control Centre in Gush Dan.

(News Source: https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/)

(top pic: Israel National Drone Initiative)