Drone, Toy or Tool?

When it comes to drones, the first reaction of many people may be the skyless drones in various science fiction movies.

It is true that drones first appeared in the 1920s, and their appearance was related to the Second World War, and it was also originally used in the military. With the development of nearly a century, drone technology has made a qualitative leap. In addition to military applications, it is increasingly used in civilian applications, such as agriculture, film and television, transportation, and meteorology.


In order to explore the latest development of drones, Connect Now, together with the China-Netherlands Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Development Association and Weino, participated in Amsterdam Drone Week organized by Amsterdam RAI, leading the world's top drone research and development team to visit this Event.

As the host, Mr. Lindomar Minguel, on behalf of Amsterdam RAI, welcomed the visiting team and expressed the determination to support technological innovation and his views on the development of drone technology.

In the subsequent exhibition hall visit, we also learned about the three areas where drone applications are currently most concerned.


1. URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM) - Urban Air Traffic


This is a solution to urban traffic congestion. When land transportation has reached its limit, people began to think about the use of three-dimensional space, and urban air traffic was born. Under ideal conditions, UAM can reduce pollution, reduce ground congestion, shorten travel time and even reduce traffic accidents.


To operate in densely populated urban areas, it must have vertical take-off and landing capabilities, eliminating the need for runways.


Talaria, the Delft student team, is developing personal flying motorcycles, and the Hermes II prototype developed by them is also debuting at this exhibition.

Hermes II is a 2-meter-high drone with a diameter of about 2.6m. The picture above is a prototype of its key components.

2. U-SPACE / UTM - drone automation and traffic management


The U-space blueprint is a plan released by SESAR in June 2017 to integrate drones into the airspace. The vision is to enable complex drone operations to be highly automated in all types of operating environments, especially in urban environments.
Today, air traffic controllers communicate with pilots by radio, a system called Air Traffic Management (ATM).

As autonomous operations continue to increase, ATM systems will need to be transformed into more scalable models: digital systems that can be monitored and managed. This system is called Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM).

A startup team, Third Space Auto, is focusing on the development of drone software systems, and their goal is to use artificial intelligence to complete fully automatic drone operations.

3. MaaS (MOBILITY AS A SERVICE) - Travel as a Service


MaaS is definitely a boon for heavy travelers! From then on, messy traffic apps can be abandoned.


Let's first explain what MaaS is.


A feature of MaaS is to integrate various optional travel methods (whether provided by public units or privately provided) into an APP, and at the same time allow users to pay through an account.


The benefits are obvious. One is that it can get intelligent suggestions for route planning based on user preferences and use multiple modes of transportation to plan itineraries. The other is that it simplifies payment methods and can even pay by subscription.


It is conceivable that in the near future, air taxis may be waiting in front of you for your travel.

Boeing's vision of future mobility

Of course, there are many other applications for drones. For example, the logistics drone RA3, developed by the Chinese company Antwork, can provide safe and fast automated air cargo services for cities; FB1 launched by FlyingBasket is mainly used for cargo transportation, and its load capacity can reach 30 kg; PostNL and ANWB are working together to study the possibility of transporting medical products by the drone, which can fly 70 kilometers per hour with a load of 1.5 kg at present.

It seems that in the near future, drones can really become a good helper for our lives and work, and a powerful tool for human beings to improve their lives and explore the unknown.


Looking forward to that day coming soon!