My first day at Amsterdam Drone Week was fully occupied by the U-space Network workshop 4. This is the community that together with EASA, Eurocontrol and EU Commission discusses regulation drafts during the development of the new EU regulation of drones.
When it was time for the official opening of ADW2019 I was representing Stockholm City who is Fellow in the EIP-SCC UAM Initiative, led by Vassilis Agouradi from Airbus, that has brought the city and citizen perspective into the drone business.
Moderator was the famous Philip Butterworth-Hayes who has been in the drone business very long. Beside me I had the Mayor of Enschede Onno van Veldhuizen and Mayor of Ingolstadt Cristian Lösel. I opened up the roundtable by informing about Stockholm winning the Smart City 2019 award during Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona two weeks ago. The judges had motivated it with that the smart city strategy of Stockholm stood out, expressing the continuous and systematically work with Innovation, Openness and Connectivity. The City of Stockholm has taken that approach upon urban air mobility as well and are looking into the possibility to build Stockholm UAM Lab together with the industry, SMEs, academia, public sector and citizens.
I addressed the necessity to create the social contract between citizens and society within this new infrastructure. We need the public to embrace this possibility, in the same way they have embraced car traffic, airplanes and mobile phones. The cities must build a relationship with the citizens and each other and share fails and successes so that we together can use this new dimension in the cities.
The challenge with drones is that they will fly over people and that we are talking about a completely new scale. It is ok that some helicopters fly over the city a couple of times per day but how would the people react if we are talking about 4000 drones every hour? And then, if we solve all that needs to come in place to ensure that it is safe and secure the next step is to start flying people over people in drone taxis. Even harder. But, we cannot disregard the enormous possibility to start using the urban airspace for transportation so we can use the ground for other things in the city.
I finished by thanking EASA, Eurocontrol and the EU Commission for creating the U-space network with city representatives included to develop the new drone legislation together and sent a request for a new way to treat this kind legislation. Because this is such a young infrastructure if would be wonderful if we could keep the legislation open for new validated best practices so that they quickly could be a part of the legislation. How this would work has to be developed and however it ends up it must be a very clear and transparent process.