When it comes to mobility in the city of the future, you are progressively hearing the term Urban Air Mobility being used. Before there can actually be flown above the urban location with parcel shipment drones and even air taxis, the necessary preparatory work still needs to be done. Within the framework of the European project AMU-LED, the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) plays a leading function in this.


There are lots of helpful usages for drones to come up with, ranging from helping emergency situation services in the event of emergencies to transferring emergency medication and even passenger transport. As cities end up being busier and drone innovation continues to establish, it is obvious to use the third measurement for this. Then these flights should be brought out with mutual coordination, in order to minimise the threats to other airpassengers and people on the ground.

In order to facilitate this alignment, U-space is being worked hard in Europe. This concept identifies a collection of technologies, procedures and contracts to ensure that drones and traditional aircraft can use the exact same airspace securely. U-space can not just be introduced: first, the required tests should be done in practice. For this, the project– AMU-LED for brief– was developed, an H2020 project of the European Commission.


As one of seventeen European consortium members, NLR plays a crucial role in the AMU-LED task. Not only is NLR participated in the alignment of the technology conversations, NLR likewise plays a leading role when it comes to the preparation of numerous presentation flights, which will happen in the course of 2022 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Cranfield in the Netherlands. United Kingdom and Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Enschede in the Netherlands. Throughout the 2 years that the project takes, a hundred hours of flight will be made above the urban environment.

The coordination of the test flights is in the hands of Marta Tojal Castro, R&D Consultant at NLR.”Friends and household often ask me what I’m doing today. I discuss that drones also require some kind of air traffic control, just like for aircraft. Highly automated. And specifically targeted at the lower airspace above the city

. That all has to be tested initially. I are accountable for coordinating the tests within AMU-LED.” Prelude to U-space According to Marta, it is best to see AMU-LED as a prelude to the introduction of U-space, the future airspace for drones and other airplane.”The intent is that we will test different innovations and scenarios that may become part of U-space in practice. Think about remote id technology, which helps us determine who a particular drone belongs to and where it flies. Or deconflict innovation that ought to prevent a drone from hitting another aircraft. And is 5G indeed useful for communication with the drones?”

The concept behind U-space is that drones will fly under automated assistance, which a flight strategy is first submitted for each flight. In concept, in the future, all drone pilots in Europe will be affected by this. For example, it is imaginable that someone who begins working with a drone on a hobby need to initially indicate by means of an app where she or he wishes to fly, so that the system can take that into account. Professional operators flying with bigger drones will need to pass on their flight strategies in more information. However, it is clearly not the objective that approval must be asked for from a municipality for each flight, because that would be unworkable.

Laminated airspace

Now it’s not the case that U-space can ensure a full integration of all air traffic from the first day. “With AMU-LED, we initially focus on the medium term. In this method, we wish to initially divide the airspace into different layers. The lower 120 meters is for the small drones, who, for example, take photos or perform an evaluation. That’s called the basic performance layer. Above that comes a separate layer for shipment drones and air taxis, the high performance layer. We need to collaborate that with the general air travel in regulated airspace or.”

In the long run, if the variety of flights becomes much bigger, then these various layers can fit and U-space should guarantee that all air traffic can move securely in the same airspace. “For now, that’s a bridge too far. That is why we at first focus on the intro of a layered airspace and short-lived corridors are likewise possible,” said Marta.

Enthusiastic flight demonstrations

The core of AMU-LED focuses on a number of ambitious flight demonstrations. In the 2nd half of 2022, a number of flights will be operated for the first time in the Netherlands with a two-person air taxi from EHang. Among the tests worries a flight with the EH216 from the port of Rotterdam to Rotterdam The Hague Airport. The aircraft is managed remotely, there is no pilot on board. In addition, partly controlled airspace is flown. The intention is that the communication with the air traffic control is performed by means of the GoDrone app.

There are likewise test flights with shipment drones over the urban location on the program. The idea is that a drone will provide a package in the Olympic Stadium in AmsterdamSouth. In another circumstance that is thought about in the longer term, a drone with apparently an emergency medical load on board rises from the roofing system of the NLR workplace in Amsterdam South and then flies to the Marineterrein in the centre of the city: a flight of a couple of kilometers, over urban location, in the regulated airspace of Schiphol, out of the sight of the

pilot(BVLOS). Marta:”But it is still interesting whether we are going to get permission from the ILT.”Complex consultations Speaking of permission: the complexity of the AMU-LED project is mainly in the assessment with many stakeholders. Not only city authorities get something to state about scheduled test flights, the aviation authorities also need to provide their blessing for every single presentation. Marta is for that reason in close contact with the ILT and with the aviation authorities of the UK and Spain, the countries where the other test flights are scheduled.

In the context of AMU-LED, it was selected to keep the risk level minimal (for connoisseurs: SAIL level 3). For example, nobody will be on board in the test flights with the air taxi. Throughout the flights near Rotterdam airport, a standard RT operator is all set for backup. And for the flights with the smaller drones in the controlled airspace of Schiphol, another transponder will be included, so that the air traffic control service can follow the airplane in the ‘old-fashioned ‘method. The European air travel security organization EASA is also taking a vital look at. “They can’t pay for a crash with a manned drone at this phase, to prevent popular opinion from turning early.”

Public acceptance

That popular opinion is another typical thread in the AMU-LED task. For instance, research will be performed into responses of individuals to the test flights with the guest drone. Marta is favorable: “Previous research study by EASA has revealed that many Europeans in themselves are rather humane towards Urban Air Mobility. And likewise throughout a current test in Amsterdam with a meal-delivery drone it turned out that people on the ground actually barely seen that a drone flew over.”

By the method, NLR also investigates public approval of air taxis in other methods, for instance, the Virtual Community Noise Simulator (VCNS) was established, which permits individuals to experience how it resembles utilizing VR glasses and earphones. air taxi overflies.


There is still a lot to be done to make AMU-LED a success, a follow-up is already being believed about, in the form of a task that will begin in 2023. Marta: “If it has actually been shown in practice that the various U-space innovations and ideas prove to work appropriately, then the next action is to make U-space appropriate for the end user. It is true that some operators inside and outside Europe are currently really far with some applications. However in the end, you will still require U-space to continue.”

Regardless of the intricacy and the many discussions that the project involves, Marta is optimistic. “I think drones can play a beneficial role in our society in all kinds of areas. Drones can perform numerous tasks in a more efficient method. And maybe we’ll get into an air taxi just as easily in the future as we perform in a cars and truck. Although I believe that will still be a high price for the time being.”

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