Significant new opening for professional use of drones
Unmanned aviation is now really taking off. The electric-powered and locally emission-free flying devices know as drones are coming under the magnifying glass of both companies and researchers. In order to ensure efficient, safe and professional operations, several major challenges need to be addressed. These include, for example, air navigation services for low-level airspace, control of flights when out of visual line of sight, and the possibility of performing several tasks with a single flight. These and many other challenges are being tackled by the Drolo project, which promises to be an undertaking of international significance.
The Drolo project will examine, develop and pilot solutions for traffic management in lower airspace, 5G connections and the utilisation of printed and embedded electronics. The project will test out smart drone services for use in ports, the use of drones in the vicinity of an airport, a drone weather service and the suitability of hydrogen as an energy source for drones. The project will also develop business models for Finnish drone operators from an export perspective. For example, performing several jobs or multiple customers during the same flight improves the cost-effectiveness of drones. The project will involve setting up Finland’s first drone air traffic control test area in the Oulu region. The project’s partners include a number of key drone-related Finnish commercial and research actors. The project will create an ecosystem that will generate innovations and new drone-related business opportunities.
Business models and technology developed in ecosystems
Drone performance is rapidly evolving in terms of flight times, load carrying capacity and resistance to rain, snow and frost. The development of drones’ radio connections, autonomy and airspace management will enable new and safe use applications in both urban and rural areas. Examples include extensive use of drones in goods logistics, agriculture, forestry, harbours, airports and the construction sector as well as for official duties and in maintenance and inspection tasks. Within research activities, drones offer an excellent platform for the collection of many types of data. Drones are also seen as a platform for developing digital solutions for traditional aviation.
‘In addition to the performance of the technology and equipment, it is also important to develop operating models. Understanding the needs of different actors and how to fit these together with the aviation regulation and opportunities offered by the new technology is at the core of our research and development activities. Drolo provides a good framework for delivering realistic solutions in a multi-actor environment’, notes Ville Somppi, Director of Product Business and Sales at Insta.
Learn more and read the full article on VTT’s webpage.