Simultaneous drone flights have been tested in an industrial environment for the first time by a consortium led by the Port of Antwerp, Amazon Prime Air and DronePort.
According to a statement, the tests took place in Sint-Truiden DronePort, Antwerp, Belgium, and was part of the Safe and Flexible Integration of Initial U-Space Services in a Real Environment (SAFIR).
The SAFIR consortium includes Amazon Prime Air, Aveillant, C-Astral, DronePort, Elia, Explicit, Helicus, Port of Antwerp, Proximus, SABCA, Skeyes, Tekever and Unifly.
The drone will be used for among other things package deliveries, inspection flights and emergency situations.
The demonstration provided insights for the SESAR public-private partnership, which is the entity responsible for coordinating all EU air traffic management research and development activities.
The test contributed to the European Commission’s regulatory process for safe, standardized and more harmonious access to airspace for drones.
Erwin Verstraelen – Chief Digital Information & Innovation Officer at Port of Antwerp, said, “Drones are a key element in the development of a digital nervous system through the port of Antwerp.
“A live feed of the various port activities thanks to a network of autonomous drones is a useful tool for the entire port community.
“The combination of industry and logistics makes the port environment an excellent testing ground for the SAFIR project and other planned drone demonstrations.
U-space is a promotional framework which in the long term aims to facilitate access to all levels of European airspace, including crewed air transport and air traffic control.
The first U-space basic services are expected to be available by the end of 2019.
This will allow a range of drone missions within a sustainable European ecosystem that is globally compatible. At present, some drone missions are limited in the absence of a clear regulatory framework.
Violeta Bulc, said,”Drones stand for innovation, new civilian services, new business models and economic growth. U-space will help unleash the potential of these new services, ensuring safe and secure integration of drone mobility in both urban and rural environments.