A lot has happened at Drone Center Sweden in the last year. We got to the chance to talk to Åke Sivertun, project coordinator at the centre.
What has been the main events and news at Drone Center Sweden in 2021?
– Let’s see… says Åke Sivertun, project coordinator at Drone Centre Sweden.
- The Vinnova UAV testbed project in Västervik ended in December 2020 but Drone Center Sweden continued on commercial grounds with test of “the biggest UAV in the world”, the Thunder Wasp that can carry up to 1 500 kg of payload and which is now used by Danish Vestas for building and maintaining wind power mills, for forest fire fighting and heavy lifts.
- The Swedish Transport Administration provided the testbed with continuous support in the project Positioning – Navigation – Communication for a further Unmanned Traffic Management system – UTM, [PNK4UTM] that will run to 2024 with support from Telia, Ericsson, Lantmäteriet/SWEPOS, Vattenfall, Södra skogsägarna, T2-data, Wabema, Västervik municipality, WASP/Wara PS.
- The Large Wallenberg Autonomous Software and System Program (WASP) was performing demo weeks at the testbed.
- Edit 3.0 hold three exercises with simulated train accidents on the railway in Västervik with the police, the rescue organisations, SOS-alarm, the Swedish Transport Administration, and Swedish Railway.
- We installed the Altitude Angle Guardian UTM system in the testbed for evaluation and managed to do the EDIT 3.0 exercise at the same time as the Swedish Airforce was holding an exercise in the same airspace from the Västervik airfield only 500 meters away.
- The Swedish Transport Agency announced the testbed as a geographical UAS-zone.
- The final seminar for the EU project AFarCloud was organised, with drones and autonomous tractors for the agricultural sector.
What is your most pressing issue going forward?
– The most pressing issue is that it is very difficult to get money to develop the real challenges to get safe and secure operations with UAVs in a bigger scale and over larger distances. US, Korea, Japan and many other countries are taking UAVs much more seriously so the Nordic countries must come together to form regulations and support to develop these services.
What are your expectations for 2022?
– The expectations for 2022 is that we together with the Norwegian UAV firm AVIANT can start long-haul flights with medical equipment, tests and vaccine with support of our systems for Cyber secure and safe operations based on Mobile networks and nRTK or other cyber safe positioning. We also want to finalise operations with support from both 4G LTE and 5G and perhaps be able to provide personal transports with UAVs.