4 April 2022
SAFIR-Med in Amsterdam Drone Week 2022, 29-31 March

Amsterdam Drone Week (ADW) is the global platform for sharing knowledge on current air solutions, potential innovations and vital regulations. A top-level meeting point where all key players, big and small, commercial and non-commercial, from various industries, knowledge institutes and authorities, gather to co-create and co-operate. Indeed, from 29 to 13 March 2022, the global UAM community reunited in Amsterdam again, and welcomed nearly 3.500 attendees, speakers and partners in-person and through the livestream from 79 countries. This year's theme was “adding value to society with Urban Air Mobility”. The SAFIR-Med project was there with several of the partners participating in the panel discussions and the workshops both life and online, bringing in the spotlight, also the SAFIR-Med perspective for the UAM in the European cities. 

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Mikael Shamim, Helicus CEO and SAFIR-Med coordinator, presented the SAFIR-Med project, its objectives, and results, as part of the Technical Workshop titled "SESAR U-SPACE research", part of the EASA sessions on Policy and Regulations.  The overall value and specific direction of U-Space was debated in detail in a following panel discussion, supporting the new SESAR Joint Undertaking projects that were announced for launch on 06/04/22. 

Most importantly, the new EASA regulation for specific category and higher risk operations were further explained by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency), and illustrated by the SAFIR-Med value chain by Geert Vanhandenhove, PPL/RPL pilot, ground instructor, Helicus head of flight operations.  Geert described safety critical solutions form a multi-vehicle BVLOS operator standpoint, required to obtain operational authorisations, including safety management system and the role of continued airworthiness.

Mirijam Bohme, Deputy Head of Division Science and Digitalization in the City of Aachen, partner in SAFIR-Med project, participated in the UIC2 panel for the Sustainable Urban (Air) Mobility Plan, discussing how cities can prepare for the implementation of UAM services. Together Adriana Witkowska-Koniecny (Metropolis GZM), Axel Czaya (Hamburg), Elena Patatouka (e-trikala), Vassilis Agouridas (Airbus Urban Mobility, UIC2 Coordinator) and Herald Ruijters (DG MOVE European Commission) she discussed what administrations can do to successfully and sustainably develop UAM-services for European city environments. It became clear that all cities are currently in the process of developing medical UAM-services as they provide clear advantages and come with a considerably high acceptance level in the population. To guide UAM implementation in Europe, the UIC2-network has developed a Practitioner Briefing 'Urban Air Mobility and Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning', which can be viewed here.  UIC2 is also part of the SAFIR-Med advisory board.  

(c) Denise Braemer.

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INVOLI attended with its CEO and Co-Founder, Manu Lubrano, who was invited to the GUTMA panel "The Future of Aviation has arrived! The next steps to build the drone service ecosystem". On the occasion, he explained where INVOLI’s systems fit into the U-space: the drone trackers are RemoteID compatible, while the air traffic receivers gather valuable air traffic data to offer it as Traffic Information Service. The INVOLI can be also used for the e-conspicuity implementation and are integrated in both Unifly (USSP level) as well as C2C (Operator level) systems within SAFIR-Med. 

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Jan-Eric Putze, CEO at Droniq, partner of SAFIR-Med project, was part of the panel discussing the Urban Air Mobility strategy in the Bavaria Region, as well as the forum of EASA for policy and regulations, in a conversation on "How to make UAM happen". Together with other project partners, Droniq, as a prototypical U-Space Service Provider (USSP), ensures the local and electronic visibility of cross-border transport flights between Aachen, Maastricht and Heerlen (MAHHL region), thereby increasing the overall safety of flight operations during the SAFIR-Med Project. To discuss the benefits of a USSP, the commercial impact of U-spaces in European countries and the challenges that industry and politics have to tackle for their europewide implementation, Droniq joined this year's Amsterdam Drone Week and discussed these topics on different forums and in various personal talks. Last but not least for Droniq, their MD & COO, Ralph Schepp, participated in the technical workshop "U-Space - Application for operation in urban environment", together with the Co-Founder of Unifly, another partner in SAFIR-Med project, Koen Meuleman. The workshop was also part of the EASA sessions on policy and regulations. Fabian Baader, Project Engineer at flyXdrive for the Safir-med Project, has participated online in the workshops taking place in ADW. 

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TU Delft, one more SAFIR-Med partner, has participated the ADW from “Unmanned Valley”, the drone test site in t more he Netherlands near the coast. Bus tours were organized from the event location in Amsterdam to “Unmanned Valley” to give the visitors of the ADW the opportunity to visit the biggest drone test location in the Netherlands. TU Delft performed demo flights with their “AED drone” that is integrated with the Helicus C2C, while in their booth set-up in the “Unmanned Valley” building they were able to explain to the visitors what SAFIR-Med is and what is their role within the project. Apart from integrating their AED drone with the Helicus C2C like all partner manufacturers, Tu Delft and NSX also integrated the first operational traffic based Detect And Avoid system (DAA) into the C2C, useable for any drone that is linked to the C2C. 

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The partners' takeaways from the event focus on the fact that even though cutting edge technology is breaking through, following regulations is the core challenge. In this respect, SJU, EUROCONTROL and EASA are working at full speed to make all of this happen, but still with a lot of work ahead. Also, as Global UTM Association (GUTMA) mentioned in their opinion paper: yes, for a competitive market for the greater good of drone operators, but today is the time for a partnership approach.  

 

Last but not least, there was a lot of energy coming from all the attendees, after more than 2 years of lockdowns and virtual meetings.  We truly appreciated to meet the community face to face once again!