Published: 2 October 2019
SAFIR Open Day proves ability of drones to safeguard critical areas
September 26, 2019 – Antwerp, Belgium – On September 26th, the SAFIR consortium held an Open Day hosted by the Port of Antwerp where a multitude of industrial and commercial drone applications were on display during live demonstrations.
SAFIR stands for Safe and Flexible Integration of Initial U-space Services in a Real Environment. The SAFIR consortium is led by Unifly and consists of 13 public and private organisations, including Aveillant, Amazon, skeyes and Helicus.
During the Open Day, the safety and economic viability of integrated drone traffic in a challenging environment was successfully demonstrated by the various use cases of the consortium partners. Three U-space Service Providers (USSP) and skeyes, the Belgian Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), jointly controlled the airspace. The demonstrations proved that interoperable, harmonized and standardized U-space services can be deployed in a safe and reliable manner across Europe.
The SAFIR use cases were first successfully tested at the state-of-the-art secured test environment of DronePort in Sint-Truiden. Its large flying areas for both manned and unmanned aviation make DronePort the perfect setup for developing and testing an ecosystem where both kind of aircraft can operate alongside in a safe context.
Next, the consortium showed their drone operations live in front of the over 180 people in attendance in a realistic urban and industrial environment, including the city and Port of Antwerp.
Aveillant deployed radar technology for the ground-based detection of all aerial movements, calculating the likelihood that an unidentified object could be a drone. This is a key component in drone traffic management to ensure that non-cooperative drones can be tracked. Thankfully there were no truly non-cooperative drones invading the demonstration!
“The trials were a huge success whereby the Gamekeeper radar provided non-cooperative tracking for a large number of flights against a variety of drones flown by the SAFIR partners.” commented Dr Mohammed Jahangir, Aveillant radar lead for SAFIR. “The radar output was streamed live into the Unifly UTM (Unmanned Traffic management) system to provide an important safety layer against rouge drones whilst reassuring that the cooperative drones are indeed where the UTM solution assumes them to be.”
Overall, it was an extremely busy and successful event including demonstrations of a customized mobile network for drone operations by Belgian telecommunication company Proximus, oil spill detection by drone solution provider TEKEVER, parcel delivery by Amazon, medical inter-hospital transport by Helicus and SABCA, and much more.
Covering over 120 km2, the Port of Antwerp is a very large area with critical infrastructure. In the case of a security or safety incident, every second counts to avert disaster. The SAFIR project has proven that the use of drones is an immense addition to the safety as the Port authorities can manage, inspect and control a large area in a swift and safe manner.
The SAFIR Open Day proved the ability of drones to safeguard critical areas, such as an international port or an urban environment. It was demonstrated how the Port of Antwerp was able to request a drone to inspect a certain area should there be reason for concern.
In addition, the demonstrations showed how multiple UTM systems can be interoperable, ensuring every airspace user is aware of airspace conditions at all times.
The SAFIR consortium, a group of 13 public and private organisations, has been selected by Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) to demonstrate integrated Drone Traffic Management for a broad range of drone operations in Belgium. The goal of the SAFIR project is to contribute to the EU regulatory process for drones and drive forward the deployment of interoperable, harmonised and standardised drone services across Europe.
The SAFIR consortium (Safe and Flexible Integration of Initial U-space Services in a Real Environment) consists of the following organisations: Unifly, Amazon Prime Air, skeyes, DronePort, Proximus, the Port of Antwerp, Helicus, SABCA, Elia, Explicit, C-Astral, Tekever and Aveillant.
You can read more about the project here
Aveillant’s Gamekeeper is based on our Holographic Radar concept (a 3D constantly staring radar which looks at the entire coverage volume all of the time). Gamekeeper is optimised for detection, tracking and classification of drones over long range, and can be used for both Counter-UAV and U-Space Management applications