The Dutch High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTCE) in the Netherlands started the first demonstrations of autonomous drone services in March 2022. HTCE is one of the consortium partners of the EU-funded FF2020 project that is developing a state-of-the-art geospatial UAM ecosystem by incorporating UAM within the geospatial data infrastructure of cities. Besides Eindhoven, FF2020’s solutions will also be tested in another four living labs during the project: Milan (Italy), Oulu (Finland), Tartu (Estonia) and Zaragoza (Spain).
The drone operations will continue until the end of September 2022. The five use cases tested on campus focus on security support, building inspection, meal delivery, express shipping and emergency automated external defibrillator (AED) delivery.
The first use case involves the use of drones for campus surveillance to assist security personnel. In the second use case, drones will be scanning and inspecting buildings to assess their condition. The remaining three use cases concern the last-mile delivery of goods such as meals, packages and AEDs to the rural part of campus.
FF2020 (Creating the 21st century spatial ecosystem) will be showcasing the results achieved by its first living lab in an event held in Eindhoven in June 2022. The project ends in November 2023.
HTCE’s UAM project manager Ted van Hoof said: ““HTCE is the first living lab in this research and innovation project to perform tests and demonstrations. It is also one of the first sites in Europe that is experimenting with Urban Air Mobility and experiencing multiple drones flying autonomously to perform specific tasks. At this point, any knowledge we gain from these tests will contribute to making a step forward that will benefit others in this field as well. I hope that the use cases on campus will help improve UAM solutions so that European citizens can see drones flying above them safely and the added value of these advancements to their everyday lives within the next decade or so.”
HTCE’s innovation manager Paul van Son said: “As campus, we create the perfect environment for innovation for both our residents and our suppliers. With the Flying Forward 2020 project, we develop both: a living lab for high-tech companies related to the drone industry, and a pilot environment for our suppliers to experiment with the use of drones for the services they provide on campus. Besides this, it helps us create the digital infrastructure needed for the development of spacial [sic] web applications, an enabler for future Metaverse developments.”