The Port of Rotterdam Authority will start establishing regulations and traffic control to ensure that increased drone traffic over the Rotterdam port area is coordinated efficiently.
s informed, this is the first time that a pilot of this kind takes place in the Netherlands. Up until now, no such facility is in place for professional drone traffic, which operates in ‘very low-level airspace’.
Consequently, the Port of Rotterdam Authority is starting a pilot to find out how and by whom this can be done best and to draw up a proper set of rules for safe traffic in airspace.
According to the Port of Rotterdam, it is expected that the first vertiports (areas designed specifically for aircraft landing and taking off vertically) might be tested in Rotterdam in as early as 2024, to be followed two years later by the first commercial flights using flying taxis, albeit with a pilot. Manufacturers are currently developing these drones to carry between two and six passengers.
Additionally, the port area is only accessible to drone operators with a permit from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate. Multiple flights in the same airspace simultaneously will be the rule rather than the exception in the future.
The Port Authority has invited companies that offer an Unmanned Traffic Management system to tender. This UTM, also know as ‘U-space’, is a system for monitoring drones in the air, verifying whether the drones are allowed to be there, and controlling drone traffic professionally.
Besides the companies and institutions involved in drone flights, the Ministries of Defence and Infrastructure & Water Management, as well as the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate are involved in the Rotterdam prototype U-Space Airspace.
The port said that the prototype should yield reliable information about the type and amount of work drone airspace control takes, the costs required, and an answer to the question of who will carry out the activities. The ultimate objective is to safeguard airspace safety in the longer term.
Lastly, the pilot will start by mid 2022 and will take two years.