Drones pass tests in busy Antwerp port, readying for urban acceptance

PRACTICAL use of drones

10 November 2019 - 19:00

PRACTICAL use of drones. for package delivery, inspection flights and as emergency monitors, has been tested in the precincts of the busy Port of Antwerp, in a deliberately challenging environment to test safety and economic viability.

Earlier, drone use - including package delivery, inspection flights and monitoring emergency situations had been tested successfully in the safe DronePort in Sint-Truiden, not far from Antwerp, reported the American Journal of Transportation.

The SAFIR consortium, 13 organisations selected by Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) to demonstrate drone traffic management, held testing in a more urban environment.

During the different flights the SAFIR team successfully demonstrated the safety and economic viability of integrated drone traffic, said the press release.

The consortium made up of Unifly, Amazon Prime Air, Skeyes, DronePort, Proximus, Port of Antwerp, Helicus, SABCA, Elia, Explicit, C-Astral, Tekever and Aveillant went on to prove the effective operation of a management system (UTM platform) that shows which drones are flying where at all times.

This enables local authorities to control, inspect and manage their airspace, including the imposition of 'no fly' zones, it said.

The Antwerp port area covers 120-square kilometres of sensitive industrial infrastructure. The use of drones combined with a central management system can make a significant contribution to general safety in this complex environment.

Port of Antwerp innovation officer Erwin Verstraelen, confirmed that drones can play an important role in the port of the future:

'Our objective is to have a network of autonomous drones supplying a live feed of the various port activities. This will be an enormously useful tool for the entire port community,' Mr Verstraelen said.


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