Blog: Urban Drone Testbed Update

Now three fifths of the Urban Drone Testbed pre-study has been made and we have attracted many interesting people into the Steering Committee. We have been able to understand what a testbed for drones in an urban environment has to focus on solving. A very important factor to deal with in an urban environment, that you can avoid in rural areas, is first and foremost PEOPLE. They need to feel that the drones are contributing to good things, that the drones are safe, that the noises are not too loud and that personal integrity isn’t threatened. Also, in a city, you will have to map and design the whole airspace in between the buildings into corridors with crossroads and multiple levels (think Bruce Willis taxi driving in Fifth Element) and then apply urban air traffic rules on top. We have chosen to go for driving the drones in the mobile nets, that are already in place.

The beauty of building the testbed in Kista is that it is the most dreaded place for drones. We have everything that makes drone traffic challenging here – a lot of PEOPLE, a metro station, two airports as neighbors, enormous electricity pylons, two motorways, one of the busiest stretch of railway in the country, three high rise buildings and more radio waves than anywhere else in the world (it is after all an ICT cluster so it is perfectly in order). If we can fly drones safely and efficiently here, we can do it anywhere!

Last week we were visiting our big sister – Drone Center Sweden in Västervik for their Demo Days. They were inaugurated by the Minister of Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth and about twenty demos were showed. Great fun, interesting and a tremendous mingle!

Then we went to Brussels to the EIP-SCC General Assembly where we participated in a workshop of the 42 cities working with drones to turn urban mobility into a third dimension. This initiative is lead by Vassilis Agouridas from Airbus and he is doing a fantastic job assembling us, keeping us networking and focusing on the right challenges. If you would like to know more about this work, please email .

This week we will conduct our business model workshop to set how everything will work and how we will become relevant, expedient and profitable as well as contributing to the global sustainability goals. Keep a lookout for results to react to!

The Steering Committee will meet next week, receiving special guests from the Swedish Data Inspection Board and the National Survey. Then we hope to set the work packages for the application and agree on general terms.  In the end of June we will have our last meeting and then the application has to be almost ready.

In the end of September we will leave our full application to Vinnova and they will give us an answer in the middle of November at the latest. We’ll keep you updated here. Please contact us or if you would like to participate somehow!

–Petra Dalunde, Chief Operating Officer, Urban ICT Arena

Article written by Petra Dalunde