PARTNERS

The SAFIR-Med project is coordinated by Helicus and is supported by a consortium of complementary partners that are bound together through natural synergies. The consortium has tried to ensure that maximum use is made of the individual experience and expertise of the different participants and guarantee complementarity of the partners and their activities within the context of the project. With this in mind, the SAFIR-Med consortium members have been carefully selected to cover all relevant research areas involved in the project in a well-balanced manner, utilising their expertise and prior collaborations to match the project’s objectives successfully. The partnership structure is based on complementarity, trans-nationality and multi-disciplinarily. In more detail, the rationale for selecting organisations into the SAFIR-Med consortium was to achieve:

  1. Balanced consortium with an adequate inclusion of experts in all research domains of SAFIR-Med,

  2. Strong industry presence (including SME and education authorities' representation) ensuring interest in commercialisation and sustainability of project results,

  3. High profile organisations for user involvement in the project,

  4. High exploitation and dissemination potential and

  5. Top quality level of management.

 

Each of the partners undertakes one or more relevant roles that are required from the project based on their expertise i.e., researchers, municipalities, transport authorities and policy makers, project management experts and UAM experts.

 

Helicus is a Belgium-based company that aims to operate integrated medical transport services between healthcare actors. It coordinates a multi-sector ecosystem of leading organizations, called “Helicus Aero Initiative” (HAI), that jointly builds an integrated solution to provide medical transport by drone. Incorporated in 2016 by medical professionals with an aviation background in manned (PPL-A) and unmanned (RPL-R) aviation, Helicus promotes and develops medically validated unmanned air solutions. A strategic R&D partnership with 30 hospitals ensures sound and integrated process solutions that tackle real societal needs. Helicus established a Command-and-Control Center (C2C) architecture and operations that allows industrial partners to include their technologies into a single integrated outcome that is useable by healthcare actors.

Furthermore, ground-based infrastructure and processes are being developed towards further integration of logistics processes. The Helicus team that will carry out the actions listed in this proposal is highly experienced in their domains, with complementary expertise in technology, procedure development and business, for both aviation and healthcare sectors. Large, international projects have been successfully completed at EU, national and regional levels

Future Needs Management Consulting Ltd is an interdisciplinary socio-technical research and technology development SME. The staff of Future Needs has a long record of successful project management and coordination as well as design and development of digital services, policy evaluation, business development and science communication.  Future Needs specialises in shaping the development of technology to best suit the needs of practitioners/end-users. As a team we bring latest technology trends and aspects of creativity, (youth) entrepreneurship and start-up mentality to projects we are involved in. We help our clients elicit user requirements for the development of new products and services, we develop R&D roadmaps aiming at product and service commercialisation, and we ensure security standards compliance for services and products we work on, before they hit the market. We help our clients from the public and non-for-profit sectors to carry out Impact Assessment and policy evaluation studies, while ensuring secure, ethical and privacy-considerate processes and following the “better regulation guidelines” of the European Commission. Finally, we leverage our relationship with a variety of stakeholders ranging from technical specialists and key industry players, to policy-makers and citizen groups when offering dissemination and community building services. Information technology & telecommunications, education, migration, healthcare, transport, regional development, culture and finance.

Skeyes is an autonomous public company, created in 1998 and changed its name from Belgrocontrol towards skeyes in 2019. The main mission of skeyes is to guarantee the safety of air navigation, passengers and overflown population in the civil airspace for which Belgium is responsible and which is one of the most complex in Europe. skeyes combines its mission of public service with the high quality of its service provision by cutting costs, optimising capacity, flow and punctuality of air traffic, and by supporting sustainable development to air navigation. Its zone of activities extends from ground level – the control of movements at Brussels Airport and the airports of Antwerp, Charleroi, Liege, Ostend and Kortrijk/Wevelgem – to flight level 245 (8,000 metres) for Belgium and between the flight levels 145/165 and 245 for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Since 2016, skeyes has been following closely the development of UAS operations in Belgium and participated in different innovation and research initiatives like SAFIR (2018/19). Drone operations are expected to grow significantly and skeyes mission will be to integrate those UAS operations in order to guarantee the safety of all aviation activities in its areas of jurisdiction. 

With its participation to  the SAFIR Medical project , skeyes is looking to  consolidate and gather  further experience and knowledge of emerging technologies, procedures and interfaces that will be part the future U space concept for UAS operations management. Skeyes intends to actively contribute to develop the adequate and most efficient solutions with other involved parties in order  to make it a success. 

As the global leading provider of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) technology, Unifly drives technology to advance the safety and efficiency of autonomous aviation in everyday life.  

In 2015, a team of pilots, air traffic controllers and engineers came together to create safe and smart solutions for the growing volume of unmanned traffic in the world. Since then, Unifly has won several awards and grown in size and presence with several projects involving aviation and local authorities. 

The Unifly platform connects authorities with pilots to safely integrate drones into the airspace. Authorities can visualize and approve drone flights and manage no-fly zones in real-time. Drone pilots can plan and receive flight approvals in line with international and local regulation.   

 

Aside from innovative software, Unifly has also developed an important tracker as part of its vision for safe integration of drones. BLIP acts as an electronic licence plate for drones via  electronic Identification and tracking capabilities. With tried and tested solutions and experience gained through collaboration, research and projects on a global scale, Unifly offers clients a scalable and future-proof path towards a full suite of UTM services. In the near future where artificial intelligence is essential to logistics and operations, Unifly continues to play a role in creating this safe and open ecosystem where unmanned aircraft can operate. 

AgentFly Technologies is a technology and research company specializing in simulation and control of unmanned aerial systems and air traffic management simulation. The company performs research, development, and operations in four areas. 

  

UAS Integration into Shared Airspace (UTM) consists of advanced software tools, algorithms, and simulations for UAS operators, regulators, and service providers. Algorithms include advanced control of autonomous UAS, trajectory planning in complex environments including geofencing, conflict detection and resolution, and integration of UAS into shared airspace. ATM Modeling and Simulation provides a large-scale simulation of tens of thousands of aircraft, physical and navigation environment, and cognitive model of air traffic controllers. Military and security operations utilize drones in complex systems for aerial protection of assets, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and other tactical missions. Aerial work automation focuses on the automation of the whole processing chain - 3D trajectory planning, data acquisition, multiple sensor data fusion, post-processing. 

  

The company cooperates with Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic, Federal Aviation Administration, NUAIR UAS test site, US Air Force Research Laboratory, and participates in the Single European Sky (SESAR) project. The company was involved in NATO SIAG SG-205 Sense and Avoid Feasibility and Certification for UAS Flight in Non-Segregated Airspace and is an active member of EUROCAE WG-105 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).   

The goal of H.U.S.I (Hellenic U-Space Institute) is the development of procedures and operations for drones at an urban scale.  Our vision is to enhance drone path analysis, battery consumption minimization as well as urban air traffic. 
 
The main targets include: 
 

  • Build a sustainable U-Space environment 

  • Support the standards and regulations 

  • Active contribution in the architecture and design of UTM (Unmanned 

  • Traffic Management) 

  • Define an UAM (Urban Air Mobility) ecosystem 

  • Grow via memberships and partnerships 

  • Provide Urban Air Mobility acceleration 

  • Professionalism  

Skeydrone is a wholly owned subsidiary created by skeyes in February 2020. The purpose of the company is to develop, market and provide services for, amongst others, the management of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) traffic. Skeydrone will develop the following activities: a) UTM/U-space and mission support services for operators of UAVs; b) analysis and other services based on data collected using UAVs, including recording of data, coordination of data analysis; c) reports for corporate organizations in various industries; and d) active and passive protection services against UAV for operators of sensitive or critical facilities.  
 

Being linked to Skeyes, the Belgian manned air traffic controller, Skeydrone uses this knowledge and experience to become the leading partner for unmanned air traffic management. The number of drones applications in growing exponentially, with opportunities in a wide range of economic activities. Skeydrone wants to prepare our airspace for this growth and at the same time is looking for new opportunities and collaborations that will set the foundations for a seamless integration of unmanned air traffic in our skies.  
 

Safety of all air traffic, be it manned or unmanned, is in our DNA. We are looking forward to provide our services in a world where the skies are being regulated like clockwork. That is why, as a forerunner in unmanned air traffic, Skeydrone is fully committed to this collaboration. 

Droniq GmbH - a joint venture of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) and Deutsche Telekom - stands for the safe and fair integration of drones into the airspace. Since its foundation in 2019, Droniq GmbH has been based in Frankfurt am Main and actively promotes innovative drone projects in the field of unmanned flight in Germany. With the LTE modem ("Hook-on-Device" -HOD-) developed by Droniq, drones are integrated into the airspace visibly and fairly for all airspace participants. Via the HOD, which can be attached to any aircraft, the current position is transmitted via LTE to the UAS Traffic Management System (UTM). Together with the relevant manned air traffic in the vicinity, a live air situation is displayed for the drone controller.

 

In addition to the necessary hardware and software for the integration of drones, Droniq also offers comprehensive consulting and training services for drone operators and controllers. Droniq experts are available to answer all questions regarding the safe operation of drones, whether it is a matter of approval, safety assessment, operational concepts, selection of suitable aircraft, or the establishment of a drone fleet operation. In the area of training and education, in addition to the examination of the proof of knowledge for flying drones in Germany, practical training for the safe flight of drones can also be conducted by Droniq experts on site

NSX is a spin-off company of the University of Antwerp to apply and further develop the scientific research on Normalized Systems (NS) on an industrial scale. The term Normalized Systems refers to a theoretical framework for the development of highly evolvable information systems described as “Normalized Systems”. Mission-critical Normalized Systems have been built for a wide variety of applications to illustrate the genericity of the theory. 

NSX believes that software evolvability, being able to cope with changes, is absolutely pivotal to control today’s rising maintenance costs. It’s also crucial for business agility, as organizations need to rapidly scale up new innovative developments and to respond quickly to changing business needs. 

NSX builds and maintains large scale information systems, both in an industrial (IOT) as in an administrative context. NSX is the partner in SAFIR-MED that focuses on building and integrating the different solution components related to the Command and Control (C2C) platform and ensuring long term usability and scalability of this platform by eliminating combinatorial effects while developing the integration software. 

INVOLI is a Swiss-based company that aims at integrating drones into the air traffic, enabling safe and efficient low-altitude operations, with strong geofencing capabilities as well as automatic collision avoidance mechanisms. Its hardware-software solution allows an unprecedented air traffic awareness to drone operators. Thanks to a dedicated sensors infrastructure on the ground, INVOLI system provides the information (position, direction, speed, altitude etc.) of low-altitude aircraft equipped with ADS-B, FLARM and transponder, even under 150m.

 

Currently, the whole country of Switzerland is covered by INVOLI system, in partnership with leading Swiss telecommunication company, offering real time, comprehensive coverage and air traffic information. The system allows drone operators to anticipate possible collisions with cooperative aircraft, and thus, facilitates the safe integration of drones into the air traffic. 

 

INVOLI is part of the Swiss U-Space (the European wide effort for integrating drones into the air space) as air traffic data provider, joining in this venture the Swiss national air traffic management service provider, Skyguide, and the Federal Office of Civil Aviation, FOCA.

RWTH Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH Aachen University) was established in 1870 and with its 45,377 students is the largest technical university in Germany. The university has always had strong ties with industry, creating one of Germany’s hubs for university spin-off companies and engineering firms. RWTH Aachen University closely collaborates with 15 affiliated institutes with strong industrial alignment.  

The Institute of Flight System Dynamics has designed, developed and demonstrated numerous highly automated flight systems in the course of several research and application projects. In these, special attention is paid to the goals of achieving safe and secure operations of the flight systems even beyond the visual line of sight of the responsible operator, and reducing the workload of human operating personnel by optimizing the human-flight system interface.  

In SAFIR-Med the Institute of Flight System Dynamics is focusing on the integration into the UTM-System to allow safe operation of UAS in the same airspace as manned aircrafts. The institute will also coordinate the demonstrations in the MAHHL-Region in close cooperation. Additionally, Prof. Moormann is the Technical Manager of SAFIR-Med and responsible for steering the technical developments. 

FlyXdrive is an engineering company providing 3D mobility solutions with fully integrated unmanned aerial systems.  

FlyXdrive conducts application-oriented research, development and consulting as well as the operation of devices and systems. We provide professional solutions from data acquisition to specific drone design and adaption. We convert technologies and systems in the field of highly automated unmanned aerial vehicles into marketable products. 

Our focus lies on the safe operation of drones including operation beyond visual line of sight and airspace integration. Our team is specialized in the design and implementation of fully automated flight systems that can be operated for long periods and over long distances, even beyond visual range and in adverse weather conditions. For this purpose, our proprietary flight systems in tilt-wing configuration are used, or third-party flight systems are equipped with flyXdrive autopilot systems. We cooperate closely with authorities to ensure safe operation as well as to enable operation beyond visual line of sight. 

Our drones are automated, intelligent, robust, resilient and safe.  

The Micro Air Vehicle Laboratory (MAVLab) of the Delft University of Technology solves fundamental technological challenges of Micro Air Vehicles in order to maximize their utility and safety. As part of the Aerospace Engineering faculty, our goal is to put research into practice. We take the latest state of the art theory and improve it until it can solve real world problems.

 

The TUDelft Micro Air Vehicle laboratory (MAV-lab) is a frontrunner in autonomous flight of small to tiny drones, with expertise ranging from sensing to control and miniaturization of electronics to autopilot software. The main focus of the MAV-lab is on achieving autonomous flight in cluttered, unknown areas, where all processing and sensing is performed onboard. The lab has a lot of experience on developing and flight testing new state of the art technology on various types of drones and has mainly performed research on the most pressing challenges underlying the SAFIR-MED project “safe integration of drones”. Examples include the study of hear-and-avoid for detecting manned aircraft and design and characterization of autonomous obstacle avoidance systems. The lab is also the first to achieve a BVLOS flight in the Netherlands.  

HyFly Develops a Hydrogen Powered VTOL Drone with a 10kg payload capability and a range of more than 100km. Targeted applications are inspections over long distances currently performed by helicopter, as well as medical supplies between hospitals. The drone and the propulsion concept are very well suited to be scaled up for larger drones and aircraft. Our aim is to provide a sustainable alternative for fossil fuel powered planes, helicopters and drones. In 2020 we have flown our prototype developed with the support of the European Union EFRO fund.

HyFly provides Project Management, Consultancy and Engineering support for the application of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells systems in UAV, Aircraft and Marine propulsion, Static Energy Supply and more. HyFly represents Intelligent Energy Fuel Cell Systems in The Netherlands, Belguim, Luxemburg and Germany.

The Sabca Group conducts operations from the three Belgian regions (Brussels Capital Region, Charleroi in Wallonia, and Lummen in Flanders), as well as from Casablanca, Morocco. Today, Sabca benefits from a large palette of expertise, built over its 100 years of experience in designing, manufacturing, maintaining, and upgrading large and complex elements for aircraft and space launchers. Its customers and partners belong to the elite of the aerospace industry. Sabca offers a full range of services to the civil, space and military aviation markets and recently expanded into the commercial Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS) market as an integrator of aerospace-grade solutions for the industry, focusing on safety critical missions. 
 

Sabca is a part of Blueberry, a unique industrial ecosystem in the Belgian aerospace industry which is owned by Sabena Aerospace (holding company) and by the Société Fédérale de Participations et d’Investissements (SFPI/FPIM). Through its subsidiaries, Blueberry is active in the design, development and manufacture of aviation and aerospace equipment, offers maintenance services for aircraft and brings solutions to drive the sustainable development of the industry as a whole. In doing so, the group addresses its customers business needs from end-to-end. The group is active in more than 10 countries around the globe, has more than 1200 employees in Belgium and abroad and a cumulated turnover of 250M€.  

EHang (Nasdaq: EH) is the world's leading autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company. Our mission is to make safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly air mobility accessible to everyone. EHang provides customers in various industries with AAV products and commercial solutions: air mobility (including passenger transportation and logistics), smart city management, and aerial media solutions. As the forerunner of cutting-edge AAV technologies and commercial solutions in the global Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry, EHang continues to explore the boundaries of the sky to make flying technologies benefit our life in smart cities. For more information, please visit www.ehang.com.

With 250,000 inhabitants, Aachen is Germany’s westernmost major city and belongs to one of the oldest cross-border regions in the European Union, the Euroregion Meuse-Rhine (EMR). Spanning along the city corridor of Aachen, Maastricht, Hasselt, Heerlen, and Liège, the EMR covers a geographical area of approximately 10.800 km² and inhabits a total of 3.9 million citizens of Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In 2018, the City of Aachen, together with Maastricht, Hasselt, Heerlen, and Liège, joined the Urban Air Mobility Initiative supported by the European Commission within the European Innovation Partnership “Smart Cities and Communities” (EIP-SCC) framework, aiming to accelerate practical application studies on drone and air taxi technologies and their consistent implementation. Since then, the City of Aachen has been working together with multiple local partners from industry and science to explore the possibilities for Urban Air Mobility in the region, and to develop specific use cases. Aachen’s municipality has previous experience in contributing to the development of use cases for Urban Air mobility applications, e.g., to assist emergency services. The Department for Economy, Science, and Europe of the City of Aachen is a partner in several Urban Air Mobility research projects, i.e., SkyCab, RescueCopter, GrenzFlug, and FCNavSkate, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Transport and digital Infrastructure to support the development of use cases for drones and air taxis in the region. 

 
 
 
 
 

ADVISORY BOARD

The SAFIR-Med advisory board members are:

 

The project has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101017701

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