ESA title

5G Drone Safety Module

  • ACTIVITYKick-start Activity
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAAviation, Food & Agriculture

Objectives of the service

The objective of the service is to solve the key problem of remote identification for drone manufacturers by proposing the 5G Drone Safety Module as a standalone solution. The 5G Drone Safety Module will be provided as an off-the-shelf component to drone manufacturers sold through drone component distributors. The 5G Drone Safety Module incorporates GNSS technology to provide precise positioning and 5G cellular technology to ensure reliable connectivity.

Users and their needs

Integration of remote identification

“5G Drone Safety Module” is aimed at enabling transformation in the agriculture sector by introducing autonomous automated Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations for executing repetitive tasks like field data gathering, field spraying, and other crop protection interventions. The kick-start project and development were conducted in close collaboration with two drone companies already providing drone services for the agriculture sector. They were involved in field test flights to define and refine end-user requirements at both farmer and drone company levels.

Service/ system concept

Currently, the 5G Drone Safety Module offers Direct Remote Identification through Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and Network Remote Identification utilisation cellular network connectivity, enabling seamless compliance with identification regulations. In the future, leveraging cellular network connectivity, the 5G Drone Safety Module will unlock more advanced capabilities for drone operators. These include a Pilot Logbook to track flight history, Geo-Awareness to adhere to flight areas restrictions, and Detect and Avoid features, enhancing situational awareness for safer operations.

In simple terms, the 5G Drone Safety Module enables drone operators to identify and manage their drones efficiently. This helps operators track their drones effectively and, with upcoming features, provides enhanced flight history, flight areas restrictions warnings, and advanced safety measures like detecting and avoiding aircraft. The 5G Drone Safety Module can be likened to an advanced and sophisticated remote identification and safety mechanism for drones, making sure operators can operate safely and within regulatory guidelines.

Diagram of the system concept, showing how the space asset satellite navigation is used by the 5G Drone Safety Module along with the 5G connectivity and Wifi/ Bluetooth to enable remote identification of the drone.

Space Added Value

The 5G Drone Safety Module utilises a combined approach, integrating both satellite navigation positioning and timing (PNT) from space assets with terrestrial 5G networks. This fusion of technology offers a seamless solution for drone manufacturers, providing precise positioning with the reliability of the 5G network.

Additionally, while the use of 5G is promising, there is ongoing consideration for potential inclusion of satellite communication in future iterations, augmenting the module's resilience and scope for optimal performance in diverse and remote environments. This approach sets the 5G Drone Safety Module apart from potential competitors, offering enhanced reliability and precision in positioning and connectivity for drone operations.

Current Status

The status of the 5G Drone Safety Module is the design and production of prototypes, see picture below of the prototype. We have achieved the development and ongoing testing of both direct and network remote identification functionalities.

Picture of the prototype of the 5G Drone Safety Module



Direct Remote Identifcation, transmitted by the 5G Drone Safety Module prototype received using the DroneScanner App. Network Remote Identification, visulised on AirPlate’s website, showing a drone along with commercial air trafic.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 14 February 2024