International drone industry prepares for real deployment of Innovative Air Mobility

Thursday, 30 March 2023

AMSTERDAM, 30 March 2023 - For the fifth time, the international drone community landed in the Dutch capital for 3 days. Amsterdam Drone Week (ADW) 2023 and the EASA High Level Conference on Drones, attracted no less than 3200 visits from over 50 countries to the exhibition and conference center RAI Amsterdam. The industry has clearly outgrown its infancy; where for four years there was mainly talk about testing and pilots, the first commercial applications were now announced. Thanks to a  welcoming regulatory environment in the European Union.

Over three days, more than 250 speakers from 21 countries filled nearly 70 hours of panel discussions, showcases, workshops and presentations about the future of innovative air mobility (IAM). The fact that the sector has not been idle in the past year was already apparent during the official opening, where co-founder of the largest IAM platform in the world, Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the European Union Aviation Safety Authority (EASA), pointed out the EU Drone Strategy 2.0 and the implementation of U-space.“When we started five years ago and brought together new and traditional players in aviation it sometimes led to a clash of two worlds. But in 2023 we are getting together.” 

Henrik Hololei, Director-General of the European Commission’s department for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) explained how the EU Drone Strategy 2.0 creates a roadmap to 2030 and allows Europe to become the global leader for drone operations. He urged the public that the time for global harmonization and standardization has now arrived. 

Marc Allen, CSO of aviation manufacturer Boeing, explained the company's strategy for sustainable, electric transport in the coming years. “The aerospace sector is at a time of unique transition - sustainability, digitalisation, autonomy. Achieving the vision of safe, clean, connected advanced air mobility will take all of us working in harmony.” Allen said. 

Digitization

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) participated in Amsterdam Drone Week for the first time and confirmed Allen's words. According to the United Nations' organization, the digitization of aviation is inevitable in the short term. ICAO promised to work on a global regulatory framework this year and called for new concepts and solutions “to advance next generation global standards and harmonization for cutting-edge unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), UAS traffic management (UTM), and advanced air mobility (AAM), with a focus on infrastructure requirements for this year.”

Deployment

Another frequently heard message during the fifth edition of ADW was that the time for actual deployment of commercial applications has come. “We have to scale up from demonstrations to real deployment”, Paul Riemens, CEO of RAI Amsterdam and founding father of the event said. “Therefore we need an integrated airspace, a common vision on how to progress and above all standardization.” 
Riemens received support from the experienced and tireless driver of Innovative Air Mobility Vassilis Agouridas, also leader of UIC2   (the UAM Initiative Cities Community of the EU's CIVITAS)) and Head of EU Public Co-Creation & Ecosystem Outreach at AIRBUS Urban Mobility: “The time is right to start demonstrating service experiences. As the relevant technologies are getting ready to take off, IAM should be about experiencing a service, not about experiencing a technology.”

Connecting cities and regions

Before that happens, local governments and city planners will have to get involved in the latest developments. For that reason the theme of ADW this year was 'Connecting Cities and Regions'. Nynke Lipsius, director of the Amsterdam Drone Week, argued that “municipalities and provinces will have to work on policy for the use of drones." According to Lipsius, the first steps have been taken in recent days. “I have seen a growing number of people interested in the NL Drone Day, which was organized on Thursday. During that day, the entire Dutch drone ecosystem came together and, among other things, the most recent laws and regulations were discussed. The Drone Council NL explained how the Dutch 'low airspace' will be rapidly prepared in the near future to be able to fly into it more and more often with drones. “Without Amsterdam Drone Week we wouldn't be able to take such big steps to create a Dutch drone ecosystem” said Matthijs van Miltenburg, chairman of the Drone Council NL.

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About Amsterdam Drone Week

Amsterdam Drone Week is the first official European platform for users, manufacturers, services and regulators, that unites the brightest and most creative minds of the UAS Industry. It is a co-created event which showcases the latest technology and helps unlock the potential of drones and discovery of new applications. For the duration of three days, this umbrella event connects the entire UAS value chain through a diversity of events around drone regulations, new technology and future solutions. 

Amsterdam Drone Week is an initiative of RAI Amsterdam and EASA. Other partners are the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management, Municipality of Amsterdam, Eurocontrol, UIC2/CIVITAS, WEF, ICAO, CANSO, GUTMA, GSMA, Boeing, Airbus, KPN, Achmea, Groupe ADP and many others.

Amsterdam Drone Week 2024 will take place in RAI Amsterdam from 16 to 18 April 2024.

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About RAI Amsterdam

RAI Amsterdam is an international exhibition and conference centre that organises events in the Netherlands and abroad, and operates the RAI Convention Centre in the Zuidas business district in Amsterdam. RAI Amsterdam welcomes some 1.5 million visitors a year to around 500 events, including exhibitions, conferences, corporate and other events. It also supplies event-related services to organisers, exhibitors and visitors.

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