Autonomous drone flying is demonstrated between two Swedish citites in a European program
Published: 10 November 2020 08:29Updated: 10 November 08:29
The Swedish Air Navigation Services Provider LFV, Linköping University (LiU) and Independent Business Group (IBG) will plan and conduct a flight with a larger drone between two Swedish cities. The test flight is scheduled for quarter 3, in 2022 and is part of a major European effort to demonstrate the societal benefits of drone services and to prepare future guidelines for them.
“We are very proud to be hosts for Sweden and our cities. Talented companies and a forward-thinking spirit make us a desirable region,” says Reidar Svedahl, municipal councilor and chairman of the Public Works Committee in Norrköping.
Muharrem Demirok, municipal councilor and chairman of the Public Works Committee in Linköping continues, “Together we are a strong team, combining know-how, technology and research. Linköping University already unites us and now we have another bond in that relationship. We look forward to the end of summer 2022 when our region takes another step.”
The Swedish Air Navigation Services Provider (LFV), Linköping University (LiU) and Independent Business Group (IBG) will plan and conduct a flight with a larger drone that will carry 10 kg of cargo and transport it at least 50 km. This is part of a major European effort to demonstrate the societal benefits of drone services and to prepare future guidelines for them. The area between Östergötland and Norrköping-Linköping is one of six places in Europe that carries out this demonstration of drone services in urban environments. The others are Paris, Brussels, and other places in Germany, Italy and Spain. Between the cities of Östergötland, flights are made from urban environment to urban environment, with the challenges that this entails. The test flight is scheduled for quarter 3, in 2022.
LFV’s Billy Josefsson explains, “Simply put, we are building a corridor in the airspace between Linköping and Norrköping. Today there are already lots of people, goods and data traffic between the cities. Some of these can probably be carried out more efficiently and fossil-fuel-free by drones.”
Environment and safety concerns are a priority and a large part of all work considerations. Among other things, risks must be identified from several perspectives, the work of mapping them and making continuous flight safety assessments is critical for these flights. Research at Linköping University is world class in this respect. Furthermore, LiU contributes with information visualization of the region where businesses can track and influence flights.
“It is an honor for IBG to have the chance to coordinate and communicate this breakthrough in the aviation world. It really puts our region on the map. We have recently established our company in Norrköping, where there is strong knowledge in logistics, transport and aviation, LFV the Swedish Transport Agency and LiU are such examples, and we can work together to take further steps in the aviation industry,” says Jesper Low, CEO of IBG.
The fact that the two cities qualified is due to cooperation between them, where city planning offices with Reidar Svedahl and Muharrem Demirok gave their support at an early stage of the application. The cities will also prepare to work together on the layout and impact on the take-off and landing site. It has not yet been decided but the idea is to take off from Mjärdevi and land at Norrköping Airport Kungsängen. The flight itself will be carried out by KATLA, a Swedish company with roots in Norrköping.
Roger Li, LFV’s head of drone services introduction says, “This project is a unique opportunity to put into practice the technical solutions, services and regulations for unmanned aviation that have been developed in recent years. The project will also be able to provide lessons and serve as input for the continued development of this exciting area.”
“This project connects not only several of the region’s businesses in the field, but also the research that LFV and Linköping University have conducted together for more than ten years. We see that this is a good example of a successful ‘triple-helix collaboration’ between business, research and the public sector,” says Martin Rantzer, campus councilor and head of Campus Norrköping at Linköping University.
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