Demonstration of Over 25 Drones Operating Simultaneously Marks a Significant Step in European U-Space Implementation
On December 1, 2023, Benidorm, Spain hosted a drone flight event designed to move drone integration and U-Space implementation forward. This event featured more than 25 drones operating simultaneously in an urban environment, marking a first for both Spain and Europe. The demonstration was part of the U-ELCOME project, led by EUROCONTROL, which aimed to implement the U-Space concept across Europe. The project was funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the Universitat Politècnica de València in the Valencian Community.
The U-Space concept involved managing various tasks simultaneously, including the delivery of goods and parcels, emergency assistance, rescue, surveillance and inspection, medical material delivery, and first aid operations. The demonstration took place in three countries: Spain, Italy, and France, with 51 partners from public and private entities and companies participating.
The Benidorm City Council expressed strong support for the project. The demonstration aimed to validate the first U-space services and collect representative data to optimize and lay the foundations of this new concept of automated and digital management of routine drone operations in specific areas, known as U-space airspace.
More than 25 drones connected to three U-space service providers (USSPs): Airus (ITG – Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia), Aslogic, and Spain’s air navigation service provider, ENAIRE, operated during the demonstration. These USSPs were interconnected through the ENAIRE U-Hub platform, facilitating the exchange of operations information among the three USSPs participating in the demonstration.
The drone operators involved represented a variety of sectors, all aiming for full integration within U-space. These included members of the State Security Forces and Corps: Air Resources of the National Police Corps of Alicante, Valencia, Castellón, and Murcia, the PEGASO team of the Civil Guard of Alicante, the Autonomous Police of the Generalitat Valenciana, and Local Police Corps of Benidorm, Valencia, La Nucia, Finestrat, Villajoyosa, Campello, Elche, Altea, Jávea, Denia, Gandía, Cullera, and Paterna.
Amit Ganjoo, Founder and CEO of leading UTM and U-Space technology provider ANRA Technologies, commented on the event, saying, “We are glad to see U-ELCOME advancing U-space activities and look forward to when the project continues with other deployments in Italy and France in the coming months. U-ELCOME is a large consortium with 51 partners, so it will be interesting to see how the various entities are able to demonstrate pre-operational U-space ecosystems in various operational environments. The project highlights the question: which entities are getting certified by aviation authorities to become U-space Service Providers so U-space can be commercialized?”
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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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