The Dutch Drone Delta foundation has been officially established and with that an important step has been taken to realize the potential of drones and Urban Air Mobility in the Netherlands. Major Dutch parties including Air Traffic Control the Netherlands, Schiphol, Port of Rotterdam, KPN, NLR and a.s.r. insurances founded this foundation with the aim of developing the market for Urban Air Mobility, the extension of urban traffic to the airspace. Fewer trucks on the road, drone taxis and rapid transport of blood and organs by air, this future is closer than you think.
To enable air transport with drones, a lot of work remains to be done, such as determining logical flight paths, the safe combination of manned and unmanned air traffic, ensuring flights and cargo and connectivity in the air. Due to the unique cooperation in the foundation, each party contributes its own relevant market knowledge and expertise to jointly develop solutions for these complex challenges. The Dutch Drone Delta partners have already conducted a number of important flights in recent months, including the first parcel delivery in the port of Rotterdam and the first inspections with drones at Schiphol airport. "By conducting such flights we learn a great deal and so we work step by step towards the ultimate goal of enabling people and cargo transport with drones in a safe, sustainable and economically feasible way." says Jan Willem Verkiel, Chairman of the Dutch Drone Delta.
Solutions for sustainable mobility challenges
The growth of the population and the migration to the large cities is putting inner-city and inter-city accessibility in the Netherlands under pressure. This creates a real need for new sustainable mobility solutions. “The Netherlands really has a mobility challenge. If we want to keep The Netherlands as accessible as possible, we have to seriously consider how we can do this without adding traffic to the existing Dutch infrastructure, so we should also make optimal use of the opportunities in the airspace, ”says Henri Deelstra of Antea Group. “For drones, for example, you need drone landing sites, so-called drone ports. These could be built on the roof of existing parking garages and train stations ”. “We want to meet the need for future mobility and transport in urban areas that require a good traffic flow, without decreasing air quality in the adjacent area and as little noise as possible,” says Lennard Verhoeff of NLR. “The great mix of partners in the Dutch Drone Delta makes it possible to demonstrate with concrete projects how Urban Air Mobility can contribute to this in a safe and effective way,” he says.
Plans for the future
On 30 September 2020, all partners joined at the Space53 drone test and development center in Enschede. Here, the plans and ambitions of the foundation for the coming years are discussed and shaped. The inspiration is fuelled by a number of demonstration flights by innovative Dutch parties during which the future possibilities of drones are shown. For example, there are demonstrations for emergency services showing how they can respond faster and better to emergencies through the use of drone technology and there will be a demonstration of how a drone could deliver an AED in sparsely populated areas. “These solutions developed in the Netherlands are of great social importance, but there are still many hurdles to overcome before they can be deployed on a large scale. The Dutch Drone Delta can make an important contribution to boosting and accelerating the Dutch drone sector ” says Marc Sandelowsky of Space53.
The Dutch Drone Delta foundation consists of the following partners; Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), Royal Schiphol Group, Port of Rotterdam, KPN, a.s.r. insurance, Antea Group, Space53, Royal Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR) and there is close collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management and Rijkswaterstaat. The foundation is supported by AirHub and Connekt for the daily operation. Today's kick-off is the go-ahead to put the Netherlands at the forefront of Urban Air Mobility development.