Antwerp joins pilot project for drone technology
The city of Antwerp joined the Urban Air Mobility initiative and wants to explore the possibilities of drones for traffic and safety monitoring.
After Ghent and Brussels, Antwerp also officially joined the Urban Air Mobility initiative on Monday. This is a European project on urban air mobility coordinated by Airbus that, among other things, researches and tests the use of drones for civil use.
Antwerp police and fire brigade are already willing to cooperate. Antwerp mayor, Bart De Wever (N-VA), thinks that the first applications of the project will be visible in the course of 2019.
The European project wants to set up local subprojects in many European cities that respond to the specific needs of each city.
In Antwerp, there is already interest in using drones for observation tasks by the local police, such as helping to judge the traffic impact of an accident or to get a global view of an emergency at a festival.
“The potential of drones is enormous,” says De Wever. “They could also be used by the fire brigade, such as to locate and visualize the source of the fire. Drones will become indispensable for an integrated safety policy”, he adds.
Police and fire brigade do emphasize that there are still many technological and legal restrictions on the use of drones today. For example, drones must always stay in the pilot’s field of vision, which limits the possibilities in an urban environment.
The pilot project that Antwerp is now joining will be no exception and will remain entirely within the existing legal framework. The initiators hope that the project will help to ease these restrictions in the future.