CATEC Advanced Center for

iMOV3D initiative presents the latest advances in the development of advanced air mobility solutions

April 19th 2021

The development of pilot programs and the implementation of air corridors in controlled areas will be key to normalizing the presence of drones in cities and making the safety of this type of aircraft visible.

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iMOV3D initiative presents the latest advances in the development of advanced air mobility solutions
In recent decades there has been an exponential growth in the urban population that is expected to continue in the coming years, which has generated increasing pressure on our mobility infrastructure, further increasing certain problematic aspects of cities such as traffic jams and pollution. To tackle this reality, it is essential to have technologies that allow air mobility of both goods and people, being one of the main challenges the autonomy of the vehicle, its integration into the airspace and increasing the level of safety of this type of operations. 

The iMOV3D group, coordinated by the Advanced Center for Aerospace Technologies (CATEC), and made up of the Andalusian Association for Research and Industrial Cooperation “F. De Paula Rojas ”(AICIA), the Galicia Institute of Technology (ITG) and NAITEC, is promoting the development of advanced technologies and functionalities related to autonomous air mobility in order to face the challenges posed by the paradigm shift in transportation as we know it today.

Precisely to share the advances in the development of UAM (Urban Air Mobility) solutions, IMOV3D has organized a conference in which companies such as Airbus, Boeing, Indra, Ferrovial, Vodafone, CT Ingenieros, Ehang, DHL and Correos have participated; city ​​councils such as Seville and Pamplona, ​​technology centers such as the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) and organizations that manage aviation in Spain, such as the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, AESA and ENAIRE.

This forum served to present new technologies, solutions and existing products offered by companies, the U-Space regulatory framework for the integration of UAS in airspace, and civil infrastructures that urban air mobility will require, such as vertiports. The technological challenges that are being worked on have also been analyzed to provide drones with a greater capacity in terms of load and autonomy, based on artificial intelligence, improve remote communications, develop more robust navigation systems and manage energetic efficiency. In this sense, the use of 5G technologies and Edge Computing will increase the autonomy of drones and offer high added value services.

One of the main conclusions of the day is that the development of pilot programs and the establishment of air corridors in controlled areas will be key to normalize the presence of drones in cities. There are already pilot tests of parcel delivery by drones in some places in the world, showing that they complement a service that can be more sustainable and efficient and that it improves connectivity and access to rural or more isolated areas.

The incorporation of drones in public services in cities is also becoming a reality, for example, as support for the police and fire departments, for mapping, surveillance and flood control or management tasks. Drone testing in controlled environments will allow to gain operational experience, which will give way to operations in real environments.

Demonstrating the flight safety of UASs and their integration into urban airspace will help society get used to the presence of this type of aircraft in cities. Especially in Spain, one of the countries in the world with the largest number of drone operators. The Strategic Plan for the Development of the Civil Sector of drones in our country predicts that the fleet of drones for professional use could exceed 51,400 aircraft in 2035 and reach 53,500 in 2050, which would produce an economic impact of 1,220 million in 2035 and 1,520 to 2050.

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