Drone radar installed at a testing ground in Twente

A Dutch scoop for Twente: Space53 has installed a drone radar in an urban environment.

The Space53 drone test centre installed a drone radar to map the airspace above most of the region of Twente. The drone radar was placed on the roof of the Alphatoren in Enschede, with 101 meters the tallest building in the east of the Netherlands. The radar maps the airspace in a radius of 20 kilometres around Enschede, which is the majority of Twente and a piece of Germany. The ability to observe unmanned aircrafts is an important step towards a safe and functional airspace for drone applications.

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In short

  • Applications of drones in urban areas offer many opportunities. Drones must be safely handled.
  • The Space53 drone test centre installed a drone radar to map the airspace above most of the region of Twente, making unmanned aircraft movements detectable. 
Safe integration is important

Applications of drones in urban areas offer a wealth of opportunities, provided that they are executed safely. The drone incident with the trauma helicopter of the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital at the end of June underlines that safe integration of manned and unmanned aviation is not self-evident. Marc Sandelowsky, director of Space53: “Drone technology has the potential to add social value and contribute to economic growth. To benefit from this opportunity, these drones must be able to use our airspace safely and responsibly. This radar provides insight into the use of airspace above the city. The collected data can help to prevent future incidents.”

Policy for drone usage in urban areas

By installing the radar, the collaborating parties (Veiligheidsregio Twente, Politie Oost-Nederland and Medisch Spectrum Twente) want to visualise and gain insight on drone usage in the urban environment in Twente. The collected data helps in formulating good policy for the recreational and commercial use of drones in cities.

Consortium helps to integrate drones into the European airspace

The installation of the drone radar is in line with the VUTURA project, a project funded by the European Union to investigate how drones can be safely integrated into the airspace. The project is being carried out by a consortium consisting of various international parties, including the National Aerospace Center NLR, TU Delft and partners of Space53 such as the municipality of Enschede.

Testing grounds in Twente

With this scoop, Twente shows that it can apply innovations in real-life situations. In addition to testing technology in the urban area, drone technology is mostly tested at the Technology Base. At this unique location in Twente, pioneers have the opportunity to develop, test and stimulate innovations from various sectors in a conditioned environment.

Date: 8 August 2019
Source of tekst: Gemeente Enschede
Author: Twente.com
Audio / video: Laurens Kuipers