First Flights in EU Project Implementing Movement of Drones Over Cities Started in Poland

A first series of test flights with drones got underway in November in Rzeszów, Poland as part of the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) large-scale demonstration. The project is co-funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme within the framework of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, an EU public-private partnership that coordinates all air traffic management research and innovation activities. Poland is one of the four EU countries where the trial flights are conducted.

The flights in Poland are carried out by Dronehub – the European leader in the drone-in-a-box systems – with the support of Honeywell, which provides equipment and sensors for drones, and the Altitude Angel, responsible for the software. These companies are part of the Uspace4UAM consortium, which was selected for drone flights in urban conditions in four European countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Spain. The project aims to enable the safe integration of urban air mobility, including flights with autonomous drones, in the airspace of the European Union.

“It is a big thing that Poland adds not a small brick, but a whole pillar to the construction of urban air mobility throughout the European Union. Based on the results of, inter alia, our flights over Rzeszów, guidelines for drone flights will be developed, as drones in the near future will become a common sight over the European cities. So we feel a great responsibility, but also an honour, that first demo flights are starting here in Rzeszów, Poland,” said Vadym Melnyk, founder and CEO of Dronehub.

By mid-2022, Dronehub will carry out approximately 160 flights over the Aviation Valley near Rzeszów, where the company’s headquarters is located. The flights will be carried out for three scenarios of the use of autonomous drones in the public service: to provide emergency services with aerial monitoring from accident sites; to take a series of ortho- and photogrammetric photos for the needs of public institutions; and to transport AED defibrillators in life-threatening situations.

As part of the Urban Air Mobility project, flight safety requirements will be developed, as well as regulations and standardizations to support the development of drone flights in urban space in the EU. The project aims to show the technologies of autonomous drones that can be used in cities to improve safety and help security services to manage emergency situations.

“Dronehub demos within Uspace4UAM started in November 2021, and we will end in June 2022. During this time, amongst other objectives, we will check how drones react to different and rapidly changing weather conditions. Thanks to these 160 flights we plan to carry out, we will be able to adjust both hardware and software to the real city conditions and to the needs of public services. Our conclusions and recommendations will be used to help smooth Urban Air mobility deployment in Europe,” added Jakub Węglarz, project manager, responsible at Dronehub for the implementation of the project.

The Uspace4UAM consortium is implementing a project commissioned by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (Single European Sky ATM Research), which is developing the solutions for delivering smart and sustainable aviation. Drone flights over Poland will therefore contribute to the development of EU- wide regulations and systems that will allow increasing the number of flights by aircraft – including drones – in the EU skies in the coming years, while improving safety.