Navigating the skies: Drones and urban mobility

Navigating the skies: Drones and urban mobility

How can drones help cities become safer, more efficient, and sustainable? During Mobility Day 2023, experts in urban mobility and drone technology gathered for a panel discussion on this topic, addressing the transformative potential and challenges of integrating drones into urban transportation systems.

In the evolving urban environments of today, drones are rapidly becoming integral to modern urban transport strategies. The panel – featuring representatives from RISE, The City of Stockholm, Ericsson Drone Mobility, Region Stockholm, ATS Bromma and LFV – emphasized that drones have the potential to redefine a broad range of services. From efficient package deliveries to life-saving medical supplies like automated defibrillators, drones offer a flexible and eco-friendly alternative to traditional transport methods. With the right infrastructure, it’s anticipated that drone transport could replace up to 75% of express deliveries in the future.

However, innovation doesn’t come without its challenges. Regulatory constraints present a significant bottleneck, especially around permits and urban airspace ownership. Navigating these legal frameworks involves coordination between different layers of governance – from local municipalities to EU level. The panel also underscored behavioral challenges, noting that public perceptions, concerns and acceptance of drones in urban spaces play a vital role in their successful integration. There’s need for ongoing conversations, not just among cities, innovators, and policymakers, but also with the public to streamline regulations and create a supportive setting for drone integration into urban mobility.

On the technical side, allowing drones to operate beyond the pilot’s visual range brings up some specific challenges. These include not just limited control range but also concerns in other areas like data security and public safety, especially in high-density urban areas. During the panel discussion, it was noted that advancements in 5G connectivity are essential for improving the reliability and safety of drone operations in these settings. This technological progress, in turn, requires close cooperation between drone companies and mobile network providers to fine-tune network performance specifically for drones.

In conclusion, tackling these challenges calls for a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach. The path forward lies in aligning not just on regulations but also on infrastructure, financing, and, not least, public acceptance. By establishing a shared vision and mutual understanding among all stakeholders, the acceleration of drone deployment in cities becomes not a question of “if” but “when”. As cities like Stockholm aim for ambitious sustainability goals, drone integration stands as a powerful means to achieve them.

Thanks to our panelists for contributing to this discussion:

Rasmus Lundqvist of RISE
Erik Levander of The City of Stockholm Transport Department
Anders Carlsson of ATS Bromma, LFV
Fredrik Flyrin of Ericsson Drone Mobility
Fredrik Engströmer of Region Stockholm
Karolina Pamp of Kista Science City

 

Learn more about ongoing activities in the area of Drones and Urban air mobility.

Reach out to Karolina if you want to talk more!


drone in air

Kista takes the lead in smart drone services

Kista takes the lead in smart drone services

Drones will soon be serving customers, citizens, businesses, and authorities with a wide range of revolutionary new services.

Kista Science City hosts one of Sweden’s largest knowledge clusters when it comes to new mobility. A new project will prepare cities for the next phase in this fast-growing drone economy. The tech scene in Stockholm has millions of reasons to get excited.

Drone-based services are expected to be game-changing in the coming years:  The potential is enormous in areas as medical transport, emergency response, traffic monitoring and delivery of food and packages, just to name a few. On top of that: using drones can be both effective and sustainable.

But implementing this at a large scale is complex. While the technology for drone services advances quickly, the ecosystem needed for the” lower airspace mobility revolution” isn’t in place. Yet.

That’s what’s most probably about to change in the upcoming years, as the drone market is expected to boom by 2030.

Funding, expertise and tests

Stockholm will take a leading role in a three-year project to identify, test, and evaluate solutions linked to urban drone services in European cities.

The goal is to develop tools for adapted urban planning, to evaluate lifting and landing sites in an urban environment, and to build an ecosystem that pave the way for drone traffic to become part of a multimodal transport system.

The City of Stockholm is collaborating with Kista Science City and the Swedish Air Navigation Services in a consortium that will be focusing on funding, expertise, and implementation of tests.

– New strategies and tools are needed to be able to handle the increasing number of drones in urban areas. We are extremely proud that Stockholm has been selected as one of three European cities to actively lead the development of shaping the future of mobility, says Karin Bengtsson, CEO, Kista Science City.

Contact us if you want to be part of the new drone economy

If you are a tech startup developing products or services related to drones, contact us (Eleonor Sjödin Turah), to be in the loop.

The startup Aerit is one of the tech companies part of this fast-growing eco-system. Founder and CEO, Alexander Perrien, feels the vibrating excitement for drone services in Kista:
– Most companies we have met understand the immense economic and social value autonomous robots can bring and are actively working on solutions and supporting products, he says.

Drones bring endless potential for society

Alexander paints a picture of almost endless potential for society as it fully taps into the possibilities:
– Drones themselves are essentially highly mobile sensor suites, and there is little that prevents us from offering the data we collect as a service in the future. Imagine on the way back from dropping off groceries to a local balcony, the drone stops by a local water reservoir to scan for excess nutrients, sample the air near a local production facility, or update a 3D map of new development. Highly accurate hyper-local data can be provided on demand.

– We are building a future where, at the tap of a button, businesses and individuals alike can send anything anywhere around the globe through a series of coordinated purpose-built autonomous solutions.

About the project “Preparing Cities for Air Mobility – CITYAM

* 13 partners from industry, academia, and cities collaborate on behalf of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region.  Over three years, these will test, evaluate, and prepare sustainable solutions for lower airspace mobility in Europe’s cities.

* Stockholm will have a leading role together with Helsinki and Hamburg.

Lars Strömgren, traffic commissioner in the Stockholms stad  says: ”The capital of Sweden must be equipped for future mobility services. The development of drone deliveries is going at rocket speed right now. Therefore, we will investigate how drones could best be used in Stockholm and what rules they would require. We will also develop a plan for possible landing sites and carry out a pilot project with drones in an urban environment.”

Billy Josefsson, Research & Innovation Urban Air Mobility, Luftfartsverket, says: ”This is really good for the industry, we need champions like the City of Stockholm. The arguments, needs for competence, and solutions identified in CITYAM and for Stockholm will be a valuable contribution to the entire national transition of gradually introducing technology, formulating rules and starting to use drone services. There is so much societal benefit to be gained, the challenge ahead is to build competence and to find good forms of collaboration between the actors.”


CITYAM

Preparing Cities for Air Mobility – CITYAM

Urban Air Mobility

CITYAM is an innovative project aimed at preparing cities for the future of urban air mobility (UAM) in the Baltic Sea region. With traditional traffic infrastructure reaching its limits, UAM is gaining attention as a sustainable and efficient solution to urban mobility challenges.

13 partners from industry, academia, and cities across Europe are collaborating in CITYAM. Over three years, the project will aim to develop responsible and sustainable solutions for integrating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones into traditional urban mobility systems. The focus is to help cities and citizens adapt to the changes brought by UAVs and to see the possibilities it brings.

Stockholm, together with Helsinki and Hamburg, will play a leading role in the project. The City of Stockholm, Kista Science City, and the Swedish Air Navigation Services are part of the consortium that will be focusing on funding, expertise, and implementation of tests.

To achieve the goal of integrating UAVs into urban transport systems, the project will identify, test, and evaluate solutions for adapting urban planning, evaluating lifting and landing sites, and building an ecosystem that paves the way for drone traffic to become part of a multimodal transport system. In addition, the project aims to develop tools for managing urban air mobility (UAM) and increase the capabilities of public officials in this domain.

The project will also measure the impact of UAVs on public acceptance and develop an ecosystem that supports it. Ultimately, the project aims to enhance public officials’ capabilities and provide them with the necessary tools to manage UAM effectively.

Partners

City of Stockholm
Luftfartsverket
Kista Science City

Funded by

Interreg Baltic Sea Region

Contact

Karolina Pamp
karolina.pamp@kista.com

Summary

Drones will soon be serving customers, citizens, businesses, and authorities with a wide range of revolutionary new services.

Kista Science City hosts one of Sweden’s largest knowledge clusters when it comes to new mobility. A new project will prepare cities for the next phase in this fast-growing drone economy.

Related articles

Navigating the skies: Drones and urban mobility

Safer, more efficient and sustainable cities with the help of drones? At Mobility Day 2023 experts in urban mobility and drone technology…

drone in air

Kista takes the lead in smart drone services

Drones will soon be serving customers, citizens, businesses, and authorities with a wide range of revolutionary new services. Kista Science…

CITYAM

A new project will prepare cities for the next phase of the fast-growing drone economy.

Focus shot of a drone flying in the city sky

Drones – a natural layer in the future transport system

What impact will the new U-space regulations, Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning and UAMs have on Swedish authorities and entities?

drone in air

Nordic drone initiative

A platform for exchange of ideas between the Nordic countries and the rest of the world


Focus shot of a drone flying in the city sky

Drones – a natural layer in the future transport system

focused shot of a drone flying at city street
Drones

Drones – a natural layer in the future transport system

What impact will the new U-space regulations, Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning and UAMs have on Swedish authorities and entities? This topic was discussed at an event earlier this year, part of the test and demo activities in Fordonsdalen.

A broad range of stakeholders from the City of Stockholm, Region Stockholm, Luftfartsverket, Ericsson and several Stockholm based small and middle sized enterprises (SME) gathered to discuss and demonstrate the role drones will have in our future cities.

Raising awareness on how to drive a sustainable and responsible transition of urban mobility

The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness on how to drive a sustainable and responsible transition of urban mobility into space, or the third dimension.

A vital part of the event was the discussion on how municipalities should implement the new upcoming U-space regulations, and the role of innovative SME’s in this process, showcasing safe use cases, eg data collection and inspection of first and last mile deliveries. In order to to shape the future of mobility we must have a common understanding from all parties, authorities, municipalities, researchers and startups.

Three small-sized innovative companies had the opportunity to present their solutions during the meeting;

Skyqraft – visual data analytics provider helping businesses in the linear infrastructure sector to make better decisions about grids,

Skysense, experts in the area of tracking aircraft, the growing field of aircraft safety and protection against drone;

Aerit – a sustainable drone delivery service based in Stockholm.

“Unmanned aerial vehicles, or more commonly, drones, are already in use in our society for different purposes such as data collection and infrastructure inspections. The possibilities of using drones in the urban environment are endless. To establish a good balance of what use cases the citizens need and the the ones that will have the most impact in terms of environmental and social sustainability, the collaboration between the public and private sector is key.”

— Sara Nozkova, Mobility Lead at Kista Science City and project manager for the Test & Demo activities within Fordonsdalen.

Call for action

Are you too a Stockholm-based SME developing solutions with the potential to transform the automotive industry and transportation system? Would you like to demonstrate your solution to a wider audience, or test together with a potential business partner within the ICT or automotive sector? Please contact sara.nozkova@kista.com.

Sign up to get the latest news, updates and insights from Kista Science City


drone in air

Nordic drone initiative

Nordic drone initiative

A platform for exchange of ideas between the Nordic countries and the rest of the world

The project

Together with other innovation clusters in the Nordics, Kista Science City founded the Nordic Drone Initiative. This project will strengthen the ties between the different clusters and help companies working with drones to learn from neighbors and form new alliances.

During the project duration, Kista Science City will represent its partners interests in dialogs with the Nordic cluster organizations, cities, and drone companies. The project creates a unique collaboration platform (first of its kind in the Nordics!) to discuss the various use areas for drones in the cities. And as the next step, act upon them through tests in real urban environment, such as Kista.

Partners

VTT, RISE, NORCE, Robots Expert, Bell Rock Advisors, Avinor, Katla Aero, Drone Nord, Gate 21, Mainbase, Flypulse, Nordic Edge, UAS Norway, LFV, Östergötland, Business Tampere

Funded by

Nordic Innovation

Summary

Together with other innovation clusters in the Nordics, Kista Science City founded the Nordic Drone Initiative. This project will strengthen the ties between the different clusters and help companies working with drones to learn from neighbors and form new alliances.

The purpose

  • To identify and evaluate how drones can be used in the transport sector to provide the greatest benefit to society, business and the environment.
  • Map the Nordic ecosystem for drones and the opportunities that this technology provides.
  • Contribute to the development of drone technology for Nordic weather conditions.
  • Propose the development of rule changes that enable drone transports and large-scale operations with vertical take-off and landing.
  • Create a platform for continued research and innovation and developed international cooperation.

Shot from above of street crossing with cars
Roads against pink sky and headlight from cars

NDI members enjoy access to a unique network of drone experts, insights and further research/commercial project opportunities (e.g. H2020) with top Nordic drone organisations. NDI accepts new members with emphasis on commercial actors able to contribute resources in the development work.

Funded by Nordic Innovation

Nordic Innovation is an organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers and aims to make the Nordics a pioneering region for sustainable growth and works to promote entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness in Nordic business. Nordic Innovation supports programs and projects which contribute in fulfilling the goals of the Cooperation Program for Innovation and Business 2018-2021 which is decided by the Nordic Ministers for Business and Innovation.