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A living lab for urban air mobility

EU-backed partners have started their first demonstrations of autonomous drone services at High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTCE), the Netherlands.

Digital Economy
Transport and Mobility
Climate Change and Environment

Autonomous drone demonstrations at HTCE in the Netherlands are helping to further urban air mobility (UAM) in Europe. As one of the first living labs for autonomous drones in the EU, the Eindhoven demonstrations help pave the way for future smart cities in which the delivery of products and services is faster, safer and more efficient. HTCE is one of the consortium partners of the EU-funded FF2020 project that is developing a state-of-the-art geospatial UAM ecosystem by incorporating UAM within the geospatial data infrastructure of cities. Besides Eindhoven, FF2020’s solutions will also be tested in another four living labs during the project: Milan (Italy), Oulu (Finland), Tartu (Estonia) and Zaragoza (Spain). HTCE’s innovation manager Paul van Son discusses their participation in the project in a news item posted on ‘UASweekly.com’: “As campus, we create the perfect environment for innovation for both our residents and our suppliers. With the Flying Forward 2020 project, we develop both: a living lab for high-tech companies related to the drone industry, and a pilot environment for our suppliers to experiment with the use of drones for the services they provide on campus. Besides this, it helps us create the digital infrastructure needed for the development of spacial [sic] web applications, an enabler for future Metaverse developments.”

Five use cases

The drone operations at HTCE started in March and will continue until the end of September 2022. The five use cases tested on campus focus on security support, building inspection, meal delivery, express shipping and emergency automated external defibrillator (AED) delivery. As reported in the news item, the security demonstrations (the first use case) involve the use of drones for campus surveillance to assist security personnel. In the second use case, drones will be scanning and inspecting buildings to assess their condition. The remaining three use cases concern the last-mile delivery of goods such as meals, packages and AEDs to the rural part of campus. “HTCE is the first living lab in this research and innovation project to perform tests and demonstrations. It is also one of the first sites in Europe that is experimenting with Urban Air Mobility and experiencing multiple drones flying autonomously to perform specific tasks,” states HTCE’s UAM project manager Ted van Hoof. “At this point, any knowledge we gain from these tests will contribute to making a step forward that will benefit others in this field as well. I hope that the use cases on campus will help improve UAM solutions so that European citizens can see drones flying above them safely and the added value of these advancements to their everyday lives within the next decade or so.” FF2020 (Creating the 21st century spatial ecosystem) will be showcasing the results achieved by its first living lab in an event held in Eindhoven in June 2022. The project ends in November 2023. For more information, please see: FF2020 project website

Keywords

FF2020, drone, autonomous drone, urban air mobility, city, living lab

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