Trials in Europe will evaluate the safety of using eVTOL devices; See the selected cities

Trials in Europe will evaluate the safety of using eVTOL devices;  See the selected cities
Photo: Dutch Space Center


In a few years, urban air mobility will be a reality, allowing people to move more easily within and between cities.

What if ambulances were to transport patients and vital medicines of the future by air? What if firefighters could fight fires safely and efficiently without endangering human lives?

A future where people can travel faster and more efficiently from one point to another, with better and improved services for cities and their residents, isn’t just a vision – it’s a reality that will come to us in a matter of years: Urban Air Mobility (UAM).

UAM is a transformative urban mobility concept, using various types of drones to carry out any kind of mission aimed at improving the well-being of individuals and organizations.

Integrating these large, futuristic aircraft safely into urban airspace requires a lot of coordination and a lot of testing. Faced with this need, in the coming months, the European AMU-LED project will carry out several test flights in urban environments in the UK, the Netherlands and Spain.

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The U-space is a key enabler of UAM, the air traffic management framework to enable the secure integration of drones. Like the Air Traffic Management System for aircraft in general, U-space will ensure that drone operations are carried out safely and efficiently.

However, the system will be more automated than current air traffic control, with less human interaction and the ability to handle more flights simultaneously.

U-space can be defined as a set of specific services and procedures designed to ensure safe and effective access to the airspace of a large number of UAVs that include high levels of digitization and automation.


Scenarios in urban environments

Much work has been put into the development of U-space and UAM through research and innovation projects and technological developments. One of these initiatives is AMU-LED A large-scale demonstration project (VLD) funded by the SESAR Joint Undertake under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

AMU-LED will demonstrate the safe integration of Manned and unmanned aircraft By implementing U-space, with the ultimate goal of making increasingly sustainable smart cities a reality. who – which By conducting flight demonstrations with different scenarios, situations and use cases in urban environments.

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In these demonstrations, the project It will use large electric switching platforms and vertical landing (EVTOL) for the carriage of passengers and goods, Integrated with smaller unmanned aerial systems (UAS)Carry out the delivery of goods and medical supplies, monitoring or support to emergency services.

AMU-LED objectives

The project started two years ago in January 2020 with two main goals to demonstrate the safe interaction of the UAM aircraft with other users of the airspace and to demonstrate the safe flight of the UAM.

After thorough preparation, the flight demonstrations that will take place inside the AMU-LED can be considered as the final product of the project, application of the concept of operations, use cases, scenarios, system architecture and U-space system that will be defined in the project.

“Having done a tremendous amount of work, as our consortium envisioned and implemented cutting-edge operations concepts for UAM, and prepared future use cases, but at the same time, such as air transportation or last mile parcel delivery, Traffic is not an innovative vehicle integrated with management services, we are ready Finally to boot,” explains Pablo Menendez Ponte Alonso, UTM project leader at NTT DATA Spain, which coordinates the European Union of 17 different entities involved in the AMU-LED project.

There will be seven operations in total, which will take place during the Northern Hemisphere summer 2022, in Cranfieldin the UK, Amsterdam, Enschede and Rotterdamin the Netherlands, and Santiago de CompostelaIn Spain.

“Cranfield is our first show because it will allow us to understand how prepared this technology is when facing the real challenge,” Alonso said.


Exchange of information

The diversity of locations allows the project to test and demonstrate different aspects related in different ways, for example, evaluating the most effective method of exchanging information between actors (eg drones, their pilots, air traffic management system).

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The project will test two different concepts of related data distribution: centralized and decentralized architecture. Decentral architecture will be tested in Cranfield, Enschede and Rotterdam, and central architecture will be tested in Amsterdam and Santiago de Compostela.

The information to be exchanged relates to all kinds of data, for example strategic and tactical information before and during the flight, tracking data (real-time information on the location of the drone), and the tactical conflict resolution advice service (information to avoid conflicts before and during the flight). aviation), meteorological data, communications data, navigation and observation data.

What do you expect during the demonstrations?

Furthermore, since U-space and UAM are still concepts in development, AMU-LED has pursued the three pillars of innovation – feasibility, feasibility and relevance – to ensure that demonstrations cover the foundations for effective UAM implementation.

in JuneThe demonstrations begin with a feasibility study in Cranfield, demonstrating the readiness of AMU-LED solutions, technologies and systems. These tests are conducted by Cranfield University and will take place at Cranfield Airport, a unique facility that has its own air navigation service provider and air traffic controllers, as well as its pilots and aircraft.

This demo will be a prerequisite for subsequent demos, proving that the AMU-LED solution is ready and safe for testing in more complex environments. The second part of the Cranfield demonstration will take place in September.

After demonstrating the feasibility of the AMU-LED solution in June, in August The project will continue to test the desirability of its solution in Amsterdam Wanskedewith a focus on public acceptance and social impact.

In Amsterdam, the tests are being conducted by the Royal Netherlands Air and Space Center (NLR) and will take place in the heart of the city in Marinette.

Using a focus group to collect data, the team will conduct various flight demonstrations, testing different aspects of the U-space and some indicators of general acceptance, such as noise, perceived safety, technology dependence, privacy concerns, or visual pollution. Measures to mitigate the concerns raised by the focus group will be proposed on the basis of the data collected.

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Enschede will continue to demonstrate the social impact of UAM. Space53, a test and innovation center for unmanned systems, is responsible for this demonstration, which will take place between the Space53 site at the technology base and Twente Airport, and the city of Enschede.

Featuring many socially relevant use cases such as medical delivery, firefighting or police surveillance, this demo will demonstrate the social impact that UAM will have when implemented.

in Rotterdamthe economic viability of UAM will also appear in August. This test is coordinated by AirHub and will be conducted in the city’s port area.

This will be done in cooperation with the Port of Rotterdam, which wants to investigate the feasibility of transporting ship crews directly from the ship to the hotel. Other use cases will also be shown, flying various UAVs and VTOL aircraft.

city Santiago de Compostela It will host the final show for AMU-LED, where all of the previous aspects – feasibility, feasibility and convenience – come together in one big final show.

Coordinated by the ITG Technology Center – Fundación Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia, the demonstration will focus on the correct implementation of all aspects in urban environments, as the final demonstration of how U-space enables urban air mobility. It will be explained In September and October.

During these demos, the project team will collect data on the different aspects being tested, which will be analyzed further. This will allow the project to demonstrate results for U-space development, provide information on the most effective way to enable UAM, and provide a secure, efficient and viable solution for smart cities.

Dutch Space Center Information

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

"Friendly zombie guru. Avid pop culture scholar. Freelance travel geek. Wannabe troublemaker. Coffee specialist."

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