Flying Forward 2020 (FF2020) is a three-year project funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, with grant agreement number 101006828. The project focuses on developing a new Urban Air Mobility (UAM) ecosystem and solutions by incorporating UAM within the geospatial digital infrastructure of cities.
The Flying Forward 2020 consortium consists of twelve partners: Brainport Development, Digie, EuroUSC Italia, High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Maastricht University, Nalantis, Ospedale San Raffaele, Serendipity, Tartu Science Park, University of Oulu, VERSES and Zaragoza City Council. All the organisations come from different sectors and backgrounds and bring distinctive experiences and skills to the project. By combining these qualities, FF2020 is able to deliver state-of-the-art technology and a best-in-class approach to solve the current UAM challenges.
Objectives of Flying Forward
The project aims to solve UAM challenges by collaborating with different players globally. The solutions developed during the project are being tested in five living labs in the cities of Eindhoven, Zaragoza, Milan, Tartu and Oulu – enabling an open dialogue with stakeholders, end-users and citizens to improve processes and results. Ultimately, their goal is to have a positive and lasting impact on the quality of life of European citizens and create sustainable partnerships and cities.
What FF2020 Delivers
FF2020 is creating an entire state-of-the-art geospatial UAM ecosystem, which includes a governance model and framework; a regulatory framework; a geospatial digital infrastructure; a Digital Toolbox; an Identity of Things (IDoT) scheme; and an interoperability framework.
The first FF2020 deliverables have been successfully produced, resulting in the achievement of three consortium milestones, which entail:
- Defining living lab specifications, as well as the Digital Toolbox and geospatial infrastructure
- Integrating the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), defining the regulatory and UAM frameworks and setting up all living labs
- Completing the first demonstrations and fully integrating the MVP
Living Lab Demonstrations
The demonstrations in the living labs in Eindhoven, Zaragoza, Milan, Tartu and Oulu are testing the designed architecture and technology developed by the FF2020’s technical partners. Each living lab will integrate all the available components and services deemed necessary to implement the use cases they have been designated. Most importantly, they will test and provide feedback on the Urban Air Mobility MVP developed by their technical partners, which comprises three main components: The governance model, the regulatory framework and the geospatial digital infrastructure.
The demonstrations involve:
- UAM infrastructure to be set in place as a standard (FF2020)
- 5G/6G network infrastructure adaptations (Oulu)
- Autonomous monitoring of mass events in a city to ensure safety and support in emergencies (Zaragoza)
- Autonomous monitoring and predictive interventions of critical infrastructures in a living lab area (Tartu)
- Autonomous monitoring and predictive interventions of critical infrastructures at a hospital (Milan)
- Autonomous monitoring and predictive interventions of critical infrastructures on High Tech Campus Eindhoven (Eindhoven)
- The future of last-mile and emergency delivery on campuses (Eindhoven)
- Multi-purpose and specific drones in Oulu (Oulu)
- Precision logistic services for air transport of critical medical and pharmaceutical material (Milan)
- Future precision logistic services for air transport of materials (Tartu)
High Tech Campus Eindhoven in the Netherlands is the first living lab of the FF2020 project to successfully complete demonstrations of autonomous drones. The tests ran from March until September 2022. The results and knowledge acquired while performing these use cases are helping FF2020 in laying the groundwork for the implementation of UAS operations in urban areas. Additionally, they enable various stakeholders, end-users and citizens to better understand the Urban Air Mobility concept and the necessary infrastructure to introduce this new transport mode. The use cases that were tested include security of campus grounds; building monitoring to inspect campus buildings and assess their condition; and last-mile delivery of meals, packages, and emergency equipment to remote campus areas.
- The infographic above illustrates the lessons learned while preparing and carrying out the demonstrations on High Tech Campus Eindhoven.
Demonstrations in Zaragoza
In October 2022, Zaragoza City Council led the drone demonstrations in the city centre of Zaragoza, which involved autonomous monitoring of mass events in a city to ensure safety and support in emergencies. The tests carried out involved people monitoring and counting during the Fiestas del Pilar to help create evacuation routes for emergencies in restricted public spaces to prevent crowd surges. The collected information will be shared as open data and could be used by scientists, legislators, urban planners and managers.
Stakeholder engagement and feedback are crucial for integrating Urban Air Mobility into cities and facilitating knowledge sharing and cross collaboration of expertise fields to align the UAM vision, focus and actions. Since last year, Flying Forward 2020 has been actively involved in the following UAM communities and groups: The EU UAM Projects and Initiatives Community; the EIT Urban Mobility Special Interest Group on Urban Air Mobility (EIT Urban Mobility SIG UAM); the UAM Action Group; and the working group Responsible Flying Dutch Drone Council.
Meet the Flying Forward Project team at the EUROEPAN DRONE FORUM and find more details at www.ff2020.eu