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Flying Forward 2020 starts developing air mobility of cities

BC, Tallinn, 23.12.2020.Print version
Flying Forward 2020, a consortium made up of 30 partners, is about to start developing a new urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystem for the European Union, focusing primarily on drones, informs LETA/BNS.

The project is consistent with the strategy for the digitalization of governments of EU member states and aims to make planning of the air mobility of cities a part of the spatial planning infrastructure of cities, Tartu Science Park, which takes part in the project, said in a press release.

The research project is financed by the European Commission from the Horizon 2020 program of scientific research and innovation, and the aim is to offer secure, safe and convenient UAM-based solutions.

Andrus Kurvits, board member of Tartu Science Park and manager of the Estonian business incubator of the European Space Agency, said that the science park and the city of Tartu are continuously on the lookout for opportunities to turn the rapid development of the technology sector to the benefit of residents of the city and local businesses. 

"On December 1 we started advancing a very exciting field with very good prospects -- urban air mobility, with a focus on unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. In collaboration with the Estonian Aviation Academy, the city of Tartu and local startups such as Skycorp and Hepta Airborne, we wish to bring urban space of the future, where services can be provided in addition to the streets also in air corridors, to tangible reach," Kurvits said.

Deputy Mayor of Tartu Raimond Tamm said that the project offers a good opportunity to involve representatives from various sectors in the creation of an environment necessary for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the development of associated services.  

He said that while it is difficult to predict today exactly what services it will be possible to offer in the urban environment with drones, the delivery of items as part of social welfare services or during an emergency, as well as inspection of public infrastructure are but a few possibilities that the city is interested in.

Marek Alliksoo, the CEO of Skycorp, said that the implementation of UAVs enables to carry out a digital green transition. "Making appropriate use of this advantage and its integration in the context of the Smart City or the Smart Region enables to take medical logistics, for instance, from the streets into the air, which in its turn allows to reduce traffic intensity and accompanying emissions," Alliksoo said.

The results of the research will be tested in five live laboratories across Europe, which include Tartu Science Park. 

The Flying Forward 2020 consortium is made up of the following international teams of experts: Digie, Eurousc Italia, Nalantis, Serendipity, University of Maastricht, and Verses. Its supporting  partners are Airmap, Eindhoven City, the Estonian Aviation Academy, the Italian Civil Aviation Administration, Hepta, Lumo Labs, Microsoft, Milan City, Nokia, NXP, city of Oulu, Skycorp, city of Tartu, Unifly, and VDL.

The consortium is supported by several large institutions, including UAM Initiative Cities Community, Eurocontrol, Sesar, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and the European Space Agency.  

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