By Chris Stonor
Valencia is leading the charge in Spain for drone deployment and the latest development is creating the country’s “first aerial drone highway”, reports euroweeklynews.com. The region is working on a project with UPV (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia).
The website explains, “The area has already created three drone highways and is currently qualifying secondary roads or corridors. Once in place these will allow the normalisation of drone flights around the community, allowing for a variety of uses including the delivery of medicines.” The system is expected to be complete between 2023 and 2025.
A vital step in this process was agreed last week with the signing of a protocol with Enaire, the company that manages the national airspace. This allows for the integration of the community’s drone highways into the national grid. The agreement also allows for future development by the inclusion of people in what can be transported via the aerial highways. This news comes soon after European regulations covering the use of drones were approved.
The setting up of such highways requires both digital and physical infrastructure. Firstly, a digital system is needed to monitor, control and police the highway. Once that is in place, the construction of physical aspects including signage for those using the facility and on the ground, follows.
Currently, there are three highways in place. The first is a test facility based at Siete Aguas aerodrome; the second goes from there to Castello airport; and the third to Mutxamel. The article continues, “New drone highways are currently being built and will include corridors within the city of Valencia.”
Israel Quintanilla, director of the UPV’s official drone commission, commented, “The development of these highways will be rapid. Airbus and Boeing have already created two divisions for the integration of transportation.”
From January 2023 all drones are required to pass over their navigation system to the service provider that manages the airspace similar to the current aviation controls.
An aerial drone highway is already in use by The Guardia Civil with medical supplies being transported around the city of Valencia, between the Arnau de Vilanova Hospital and Feria Valencia, during the second Covid-19 wave. While it can often take 20 to 30 minutes to deliver by road, the drones are able to accomplish the job within three minutes.
Quintanilla continued, “We don’t want people to think this has all happened by accident. It has been properly planned, where we want this to be available for medical use as well as for the delivery of services and goods to private citizens.”
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(News Source: https://www.euroweeklynews.com/)