DronePort Rotterdam and Unmanned Valley Embrace New BVLOS Test Area Designation (1)

DronePort Rotterdam and Unmanned Valley Embrace New BVLOS Test Area Designation

Pioneering the Future: DronePort Rotterdam and Unmanned Valley Set to Lead in BVLOS Innovations

Rotterdam, Netherlands – April 23, 2024 – DronePort Rotterdam and Unmanned Valley are thrilled to announce the designation of a new testing area for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights, as confirmed by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. This pivotal development, marking a significant leap forward for the drone industry in the Netherlands, establishes a crucial link between Unmanned Valley in Katwijk and the Port of Rotterdam.

The new BVLOS area is set to empower DronePort Rotterdam, Unmanned Valley, and their partners to pioneer advanced drone operations, fostering innovation and setting a benchmark in drone technology development globally. The designation significantly enhances the capabilities of both DronePort Rotterdam and Unmanned Valley to conduct groundbreaking tests and operations, cementing their positions as major players in the drone industry. This collaborative effort enables the leveraging of combined expertise and infrastructure to accelerate innovation and practical application of drone technology. The Ministry has designated the area not only as a test location but also sees potential in connecting various experimental sites, including the Port of Rotterdam, where experiments with a U-Space air traffic management system prototype are underway. This system aims to efficiently regulate drone traffic. The designated airspace for BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) flights allows these operations to be safely conducted without interference from manned air traffic.

"With the new capability for BVLOS flights, the Port of Rotterdam can now plan and implement drone operations with greater scope, both within and beyond our boundaries. This step forward enhances our efficiency, sustainability, and safety standards, broadening our operational horizons for delivery and inspection services. The collaboration between the Port of Rotterdam, DronePort Rotterdam, and Unmanned Valley harnesses Dutch expertise to spearhead significant advancements and contributions across a variety of sectors, including maritime and logistics." says Niels Kalshoven, Head of Drone Innovation at the Port of Rotterdam, and co-founder of DronePort Rotterdam.

It is conceivable that drones could travel from Katwijk over the dunes to the sea and then on to the Port of Rotterdam, or vice versa. This would enable experience to be gained in applications where drones fly long distances from their takeoff location, such as resupplying ships at sea or inspecting offshore wind turbines. Before actual BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) drone flights can commence, an extensive amendment process is required. This process, initiated by the Province of Zuid-Holland, is crucial for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of drone traffic in the area and includes steps like a needs assessment among local businesses and an airspace safety analysis. Even after airspace modifications are approved, the Dutch Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) must still issue a permit before flights can proceed. This successful completion of the amendment process is expected not only to pave the way for advanced drone operations but also to bolster the Netherlands' position as a leader in drone innovation and education.

“We have done everything possible to make this form of BVLOS flying as safe as possible. Consider the installation of radar equipment and drone detection to identify all airspace users in and around the area. Additionally, flight software, deconflicting algorithms, and a fully equipped command center have been set up. And finally, a major training effort to ensure all team members are proficient.” says Theo de Vries, Director of Unmanned Valley.

DronePort Rotterdam and Unmanned Valley are committed to working closely with the Province of Zuid-Holland, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Dutch Inspection for Living Environment and Transport (ILT), to ensure a smooth and efficient implementation of the BVLOS operations. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, DronePort Rotterdam and Unmanned Valley remain at the forefront of technological advancements, ready to pilot the future of unmanned flight in the Netherlands and beyond.

"By uniting DronePort Rotterdam and Unmanned Valley, Zuid-Holland is not only setting the stage to become a leading hub in Europe but is also actively seeking collaboration with other Dutch regions. We are open to the world, inviting governments, companies, and knowledge institutions globally to advance their innovations within our province." says Arthur Dallau, CEO of INSPIR8ION and co-founder of DronePort Rotterdam. "Our efforts will significantly impact on regional, national, and international levels. This strategic collaboration is focused on harnessing local innovation for global impact, building a robust innovation ecosystem, enhancing connectivity across the port, city, and region, shaping the future workforce, and generating significant economic and societal impacts.

For more information about DronePort Rotterdam, Unmanned Valley, and our BVLOS initiatives, please visit our websites, follow our LinkedIn pages or contact us.

DronePort Rotterdam

  • Names: Arthur Dallau and Niels Kalshoven (Co-Founders of DronePort Rotterdam)
  • Email: info@droneportrotterdam.com
  • Website: www.droneportrotterdam.com

Unmanned Valley

About DronePort Rotterdam:
DronePort Rotterdam is on its way to becoming a world leader in autonomous and uncrewed intelligent systems, focusing on drones, AI, IoT, robotics, and more. Located in the Port of Rotterdam—the largest port in Europe and recognized globally as the smartest—DronePort is strategically positioned at the convergence of the port, city, and region. It fosters a collaborative environment that integrates advanced technologies into daily life, emphasizing vertical integration of space, airspace, and ground systems to transform mobility and connectivity. This approach supports Europe's digital, sustainable, and inclusive future while enhancing safety, sustainability, and smart practices.

About Unmanned Valley:
Unmanned Valley is a campus focused on sensor-related technologies and applications, serving as an ideal environment for startups, scale-ups, established companies, academic institutions, and governments to research, develop, and test drones and other sensor-based technologies. Unique in the Netherlands, the campus offers continuous and flexible use of airspace and a corridor to the sea, facilitating Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights over land and sea. Located at the former Valkenburg Naval Air Base, the field lab lies at the heart of a vibrant area with enterprises and institutions shaping the UAV industry. Unmanned Valley is an initiative of Delft University of Technology and the Municipality of Katwijk, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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