The inaugural edition of Amsterdam Drone Week showcased numerous technologies and innovations that will change the way people think about how manned and unmanned aircraft will operate in the airspace. The meetings, discussions and education that took place at the conference sessions as well as the EASA High Level Conference on Drones proved to be the true highlight for attendees.
At Amsterdam Drone Week 2019, these notions are set to be taken to the next level, thanks in part to the common drone rules for all of Europe that have finally been published. However, it’s the desire to create a framework for concepts like Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and drone traffic management systems that will really define this year’s event. Everyone is anxious to stop talking and start building, and that yearning is shaping the future of the sky across Europe and the rest of the world. In line with this, the EASA High Level Conference will focus on the topic “scaling drone operations”.
“Ultimately, we don’t just want to talk about the future,” Nynke Lipsius, Director Amsterdam Drone Week, said. “We want to start building now. That’s why the U-space discussion is so important, and the sharing of information is such a focus for us. Sharing data and building the infrastructure might not be as alluring as flying taxis, but it’s the most important piece for this year.”
Creating the Framework
The development of a centralized UAS traffic management (UTM) system and U-Space would ensure that drones can take to the sky in a safe and secure manner. Solutions like Pop.Up.Next and others from Boeing and Airbus have proven what’s possible with the technology, but without a UTM system to ensure these vehicles will keep everyone safe, they’ll never be allowed to get off the ground. Creating this kind of framework is something that Amsterdam Drone Week partner organizations are set to focus on at the event from a very powerful perspective.
“Mayors from over 40 cities in Europe are involved in the EIP-SCC-UAM Initiative, but what’s important to explain is that it’s not just about flying taxis or transporting things with drones,” said Lipsius. “It’s also about controlled inspections, land surveys, etc. It’s a city driven approach, and we’re trying to accelerate knowledge sharing and network sharing so that we can accelerate the UAM initiative in Europe.”
That acceleration coming from the city level is critical since that means it’s coming from the bottom up, rather than the top down. In doing so, the framework for U-space and UAM can make sense in a way they never could without factoring in what it means to
make cities like Amsterdam more livable and with less congestion.
Being able to consider UAM at this level factors into a concept that was explored in great detail at Amsterdam Drone Week 2018, when MaaS (Mobility as a Service) emerged as a key component of this interconnected urban environment. MaaS is designed to bring together all current and future means of travel, and will ultimately redefine expectations on every level.