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New drone zone for commercial and hobbyist pilots in Dubai.

A new drone airfield to cater for commercial and hobbyist pilots has been unveiled by Nokia as part of a new agreement with the UAE's civil aviation authority, the GCAA.

The Finnish technology giant has put forward a concept that would see an airstrip and control centre built close to the city.

The Dubai Drone Test Field will have a drone port where the UAVs are stored, charged and tested for their next mission.

Those operating from the airfield would be allowed to fly their drone out of sight -- which is not currently allowed.

The test ground will be equipped with an air strip, landing pads and a workshop with tool and machines where engineers can, modify, customise and repair UAVs where needed.

All of those using the test field would have their UAVs will be fitted with an LTE module, which is like a sim card.

This would allow the airfield control centre to track where the drone is going. It would also allow it to send messages to the pilot if they are flying to close to a restricted area.

Joachim Wuilmet, Nokia's Head of Customer Marketing and Communications for the Middle East and Africa, told 7DAYS: "UAV usage actually brings a lot of benefits to society so we can see new industrial applications in the construction domain, field exploration, in entertainment, you can shoot fantastic videos.

"But with any new emerging technology it needs to be controlled to avoid the flip-side of having incidents, where the Dubai and Sharjah airport had to be closed."

Ismaeil Mohammed Al Blooshi, Assistant Director General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, also said: "We, as a civil aviation regulator, are pleased to partner with Nokia for such an innovative initiative for the UAE aviation sector and to build a safe and secure drone ecosystem.

"Being the number one aviation industry in the world with regard to safety standards, the UAE has superb aviation infrastructure and is qualified to play a key role in innovative aviation projects such as this drone collaboration."

shoshana@7days.ae

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Nov 22, 2016
Words:357
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