An initial series of test flights with drones has been launched in Poland as part of the EU-funded Uspace4UAM project. The first of these trials is now underway in Rzeszów, a city of close to 200 000 people.
The test flights are being carried out by three Uspace4UAM consortium members: Dronehub, the developer of drone-in-a-box systems for automated monitoring and data collection; drone equipment and sensor supplier Honeywell; and drone software technology company Altitude Angel. About 160 flights will be carried out in the Rzeszów area during the first phase, under 3 scenarios of autonomous drones flying for public service missions. The first scenario will involve emergency aerial monitoring of accident sites, the second will take ortho- and photogrammetric photos for public institutions, and the third will replicate the transportation of automated external defibrillators for use in life-threatening situations.
“Dronehub demos within Uspace4UAM started in November 2021, and we will end in June 2022. During this time, amongst other objectives, we will check how drones react to different and rapidly changing weather conditions,” states test flight project manager Jakub Węglarz of Dronehub in a news item posted on the SESAR Joint Undertaking website. The SESAR Joint Undertaking – which is funding Uspace4UAM – is a partnership between European private and public sector institutions formed to speed up the delivery of smarter, connected, accessible and more sustainable air transport solutions through research and innovation.
“Thanks to these 160 flights we plan to carry out, we will be able to adjust both hardware and software to the real city conditions and to the needs of public services,” Węglarz goes on to say. “Our conclusions and recommendations will be used to help smooth Urban Air mobility deployment in Europe.”
Poland one of four European flight test countries
Besides Poland, drone flights will also be tested in the Czech Republic, Great Britain and Spain as part of research to safely integrate autonomous drone flights into Europe’s air space. “It is a big thing that Poland adds not a small brick, but a whole pillar to the construction of urban air mobility throughout the European Union,” comments Dronehub founder and CEO Vadym Melnyk in the same news item. “Based on the results of, inter alia, our flights over Rzeszów, guidelines for drone flights will be developed, as drones in the near future will become a common sight over the European cities. So we feel a great responsibility, but also an honour, that the entire project is starting here in Rzeszów, Poland.”
Melnyk continues: “As part of the Uspace4UAM project, flight safety requirements will be developed, as well as regulations and standardisations to support the development of drone flights in urban space in the EU. The project aims to show the technologies of autonomous drones that can be used in cities to improve safety and help security services to manage emergency situations.” Uspace4UAM (U-space for UAM) ends in December 2022.