Aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing and passenger transporter Uber have become partners of the first Amsterdam Drone Week, which will take place in RAI Amsterdam from 26 to 30 November. The event will provide a stage for numerous world premieres linked to drones, and will revolve around two main themes: new European regulations and passenger transport by air in large cities, also known as ‘Urban Air Mobility’.
The Amsterdam Drone Week is a joint initiative between the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European organization for aviation safety, and RAI Amsterdam. This event will bring together companies and institutes involved in technology, applications and regulations related to drones from 28 European countries. The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure will also be a partner.
Europe-wide new regulations are expected to be formulated for unmanned aircraft over the coming year. For sectors such as defence, law enforcement, healthcare, logistics and transport, comprehensive rules will be a prerequisite for the actual use of new drone applications – an example is the plans by Uber to use taxi drones for transporting passengers.
“The industry is developing at lightning speed – we won’t have to wait long for drone ambulances or package delivery services”, says Paul Riemens, CEO of RAI Amsterdam and originator of the initiative. “The coming years will make clear what companies and organisations want and are allowed to do with these new technologies. Privacy and safety issues will be particularly important in this regard. A great deal is already possible from a technological point of view, and new regulations will give the drone industry a major boost. Amsterdam Drone Week will facilitate discussions, innovations and connections.”
Drone events have generally tended to look at technology first. Amsterdam Drone Week, however, will focus explicitly on bringing together all the companies and institutes that will provide safe and efficient infrastructure built on international legislation and regulations in fields such as security, infrastructure, agriculture & horticulture and public safety (including law enforcement, emergency services and healthcare) to users ranging from government, producers and customers to technology companies and knowledge institutions.
More than 1500 professionals are expected to attend the event, including key individuals such as Eduardo Dominguez Puerta of Airbus, Steve Nordlund of Boeing, Patrick Ky of EASA, Erik Allison of Uber and Violeta Bulc of the European Commission. “With this initiative, we aim to create a platform on a global scale that will enable the sector as a whole to develop,” Riemens continues. “We aim to connect Europe and give the drone industry wings – literally and figuratively.”
As a former CEO of the Dutch air traffic control centre (Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland) and chairman of the umbrella association of the world’s air traffic control organisations (CANSO), Riemens knows the importance of clear rules. It is only once such rules are established and enforced that the infrastructure needed for the practical use of drones can be realised. “This is about ensuring the safety of airspace and of society at large,” he stresses.
A delegation from RAI Amsterdam presented Amsterdam Drone Week at the UAV Expo in Las Vegas, a leading conference on the industrial use of drones in fields such as security, infrastructure and agriculture which ran from 1-3 October. The announcement was received with enthusiasm by UAV Expo’s 3,000 participants. “There is lots of interest,” Riemens concludes. “In the United States, people are looking forward to RAI Amsterdam’s drone rendezvous with a great deal of curiosity and interest. After all, unmanned aircraft are a hot item across the pond as well.”
According to Paul Riemens, CEO of RAI Amsterdam and originator of the initiative, Amsterdam is very well suited for an event of this type thanks to its excellent accessibility via Schiphol Airport, the city’s position as a hotbed of technological developments, its cultural attractiveness and the wealth of available hotel facilities.
About Amsterdam Drone Week
Amsterdam Drone Week will take place from 26 to 30 November 2018. The partners are aircraft manufacturers Boeing, Bell and Airbus, and the passenger transporter Uber, IDS Cooperation are also involved. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure Cora van Nieuwenhuizen will be an ambassador for the event.
Start-ups, technology companies and scientific institutes will all be represented, and the event will be attended by policy makers from several countries. There are a number of European conferences on the programme, with lots of attention given to technological developments. There will also be flight and other demonstrations presenting the latest generation of drones and special applications.