Adif to Establish Protected Airspaces around the Rail Network to Prevent Drone Intrusion

The Spanish rail infrastructure manager Adif has announced it will establish protected airspaces along the rail network to prevent drone intrusion.

It has taken this step because of the significant proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). By establishing protected airspaces, Adif hopes to prevent interference in the movement of trains or damage to any railway infrastructure.

The restrictions will take into account the extent and complexity of the network, the different types of installations and their locations. The protected spaces will also cover facilities and buildings associated with the rail network in order to restrict unmanned aerial vehicles in the vicinity of these structures.

Drones could otherwise cause damage to structures such as overhead lines, electrical substations, bridges and tunnels.

Adif has put out to tender a contract to analyse, define and process the restrictions that need to be applied to the flight of UAVs around the rail network and its facilities, as well as the conditions and requirements for those who are responsible for authorising drones.

The contract to carry out all these works has a value of just shy of 95,000 euros and has a set execution period of six months.

In order to define the protected airspace around the network, the solutions that other European railway infrastructure managers are adopting in this regard will be analysed.

The extent of the network and the specific characteristics of the Spanish rail network, the high number of installations, structures, buildings and other assets associated with it will also be taken into consideration.

The different restrictions and levels of protection that will be required based on the different types of installations and the conditions of the environment in which they are located (e.g. rural or urban) will also be defined. The goal is that the restrictions adapt and respond to the varied types of cases presented by the different assets and elements of the railway network.

The successful bidder will manage and carry out the corresponding procedures with the relevant bodies, by drafting and presenting all the necessary technical and legal documentation.

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