Project overview


Available communication systems for drones do not meet the high safety requirements of aviation.


Develop and validate a mobile radio-based communication system for drones.


Development of automotive grade 4G/5G communication modules, MAVLink based protocols optimized for cellular, 4x4 MIMO, LTE-M and redundant cellular networks.



In the future, more and more drones will be used that operate beyond the range of sight of a controller. Conventional remote control systems are not suitable for such operations due to their range limitations. Simple mobile radio-based systems cannot guarantee reliable communication in the event of high mobile radio utilization or lack of network coverage. However, in order to meet the high safety requirements of aviation, every drone must have a highly reliable communication system for position transmission. Furthermore, it must be possible to intervene in flight planning at any time.

Project purpose

The project objective is to develop and validate a mobile radio-based communication system for drones. SUCOM is intended to meet the high safety requirements of aviation. This means that the transmission of safety-critical information must be guaranteed without interruption. This is primarily information that is required in connection with Unmanned Traffic Management Systems (UTM), for the creation of aerial situation images (ID, position, flight altitude, flight direction, speed, etc.).



Within the SUCOM project, a communication solution designed for drones is being developed with the aim of ensuring the highest possible level of reliability. All components involved are optimized with regard to the specifics of the use case. To maximize the quality of service, modern 4G/5G modems with a 4x4 MIMO multi-antenna system are used. A MAVLink-based communication protocol is being developed, optimized for use over cellular networks. This is to ensure a reliable connection, even with a minimum of available bandwidth. Redundant cellular networks are used to further reduce the outage probability.

To validate the system, several test series with a total of 500 flight hours will be completed as part of the project.

Key data


Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, Berlin

Project volume

1,475,545.97 € (of which 78 % is funded by the BMVI)

Project duration

08/2020 – 08/2022

Project partners

Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, Berlin, Germany

Wingcopter GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany

Emqopter GmbH, Würzburg, Germany

CiS GmbH, Bentwisch, Germany

Associated partners

Vodafone GmbH, Düsseldorf

Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, Langen

Let's get in touch

Do you have any further questions? We will get back to you immediately.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.