New initiative launched to boost development of UAVS in urbanised regions


A new initiative to further the development of UAVs in urbanised regions has been launched off the back of Commercial UAV Expo.

Paul Riemens, CEO of the RAI Amsterdam convention centre, which hosted the three-day trade show last week, has launched the Amsterdam City of Drones initiative in parallel with the Commercial UAV Expo Europe.

“RAI Amsterdam aims to be more than an event organiser in this context,” said Riemens. “Our goal is to provide a platform for knowledge, contacts and innovation as we aim to make Amsterdam the drone capital of the world.”

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Riemens sees it as entirely logical that RAI Amsterdam takes the initiative to bring the relevant participants together.

“The drone industry is growing enormously, and we are seeing major opportunities to contribute to this by facilitating discussions, innovation and contacts,” he explained.

“New European regulation for drones will be introduced in 2019, giving the sector a huge boost. A great deal is already possible in technological terms, and the coming years will show what businesses and organisations are willing and allowed to do with these new technologies, taking issues of privacy and safety into account.

“With its focus on education, innovation and technology, the city of Amsterdam is a perfect base to bring all these aspects together. Moreover, RAI Amsterdam has a huge network on which we can draw.”

As the former CEO of the Dutch air traffic control centre Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland, Riemens has an important personal contribution to make. He also previously chaired the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the global umbrella organisation of air traffic controllers.

Riemens has also mobilised his contacts within the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Both parties will take part in the EASA High-Level Conference on Drones during the Amsterdam Drone Week later this year, supporting the Amsterdam City of Drones initiative.

In addition to the knowledge and innovative power of the Amsterdam area and the active involvement of the RAI, Amsterdam’s location and its infrastructure provide major benefits. “The attractiveness of a city is always a key factor during the organisation of events,” Riemens added. “This is another reason why Amsterdam is a logical choice as a hub for the drone industry.”

Several activities have already been programmed in 2018 under the aegis of ‘Amsterdam City of Drones’. For instance, Commercial UAV Expo Europe, which will took place at the RAI on 10-12 April, is a pan-European event focused on the industrial use of drones in contexts such as security, infrastructure and agriculture. After a successful beginning in Brussels in 2017, the organisers chose to bring the second edition to Amsterdam.

From 26 to 30 November 2018, a range of activities in the field of drones will be hosted by the RAI under the flag of Amsterdam Drone Week (ADW). This business-to-business platform is intended for all companies with operations in the UAV sector or those who professionally deploy the relevant technology. The various activities will focus on technology, applications and factors such as privacy, regulation, safety and security.

Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder

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