the buzzing of The drones will soon be constant in the cities. The smaller ones will be key in the delivery in the last mile, a concept that the sector of the logistics used to name the final step to deliver an order to the customer. The larger, will be air taxis that will be transferred by air to a user or airbuses that will be able to carry several people at once. Will have vertipuertos -airports-vertical – for your landing and takeoff. “It is very reasonable to consider the use of logistics in the year 2024,” says Joaquín Rodríguez, managing director of the Fundación Andaluza para el Desarrollo Aeroespacial (FADA). “And in 2025 the air taxis will be a commercial reality in Europe”, adds Antonio Mota, founder of Aerosolutions. A NASA study a year ago, it highlights that such services, like the airbuses, they will be profitable around 2030.

Rodriguez and Mota ventured to give dates at a roundtable held in Malaga this week in S-MOVING, an event that brought together for two days to a myriad of professionals involved in the smart mobility, autonomous and connected by land, sea and air. One of the most advanced it is precisely the air that specialists considered disruptive, and that will change the concept of city. “In ten or fifteen years it will be common to order a pizza, a medicine or a package of Post by the window, and that in our neighborhood has a airport of drones,” insists the engineer Antonio Mota who believes there are many solutions to do this: from bus shelters on the green areas to buildings in roundabouts. “These infrastructures influence already in the next town planning, as studied in Madrid, New North”, underlines Mota.

Aerosolutions has a subsidiary, Drone, with which it aspires to be the first company unmanned aerial Spain. You have six drones on the runway waiting for the approval of the european regulations governing the operations of unmanned aerial vehicles, which is expected to be approved in 2024. The second draft of the U-Space, a document that will allow the full integration of the aircraft in the airspace, we revised the last Friday in Cologne. When you are ready, to be used to determine the airway by moving the drones, safety distances, flight plans, or the identification of each device. In a first moment, the predefined height for the drones will be less than 500 feet, 150 meters, although the sector expected to double the figure in the short term.

The drones that are developed today are sustainable, self-contained, equipped with electric motors with zero emissions, silent and high reliability. Their advantages compared to the traditional transportation to have sparked a gold rush in the last few years and large companies, from Audi-Volkswagen to AirBus or Boeing, they invest great amounts in developing their own unmanned spacecraft. The European Union also test in 42 cities pilot projects from 2018 under the Urban initiative Air Mobility. Five of them are in Spain: Madrid, Seville, Malaga, Benidorm and Lliria. “There will also be work on integrating the drones with trains, cars, buses, and other autonomous vehicles”, adds Rodrigo Castiñeira, head of R & D of Transport of Indra, a company that develops in your project Comp4Drones formulas technology to provide drones for security and autonomy in applications of transport and logistics, but also in construction, surveillance or agriculture.

Tests of Indra on the airplane Targus. Indra

All consulted experts stressed that the technology is available, and any challenge the future may be overcome. But you are missing one important thing: the psychological barrier. That is to say, how society will accept devices flying around and not to be perceived as a threat. “Are we prepared to go on a plane without a pilot?” asks Juan Jose Redondo, one of the directors of the National Institute of Aerospace technology (INTA), entity attached to the Ministry of Defence, who recalls that the accident of an autonomous car in testing generated many questions about these vehicles. “There you go little by little, to prove to people that this works,” he adds, putting in quarantine the dates for the arrival of air transport in the cities: “will Depend on that psychological barrier”.

Delay in the shipping sector

While electric mobility and unmanned air fast forward, from the sea look with some envy. “The maritime industry is going ten steps behind the industry of consumption, so that everything goes slower,” says Miguel Angel Llechs, the Norwegian firm Kongsberg Maritime. Well known as Verania Medina, a businesswoman in the province of malaga that takes “years” trying to replace the engines of 400 horsepower for other electric in their two small boats to 12 metres of length, capacity up to 150 passengers – with the linking Malaga and Fuengirola, and performed marine activities. “It is impossible and very expensive: I would have to install one hundred lithium batteries and renew them every three year,” explains the woman.

“The technology is still very expensive,” confirms Llechs, which has, however, shown that your company operates autonomous underwater that can cross the ocean and sail alone nine months. “There are apps for science, archaeology, platforms, submarines,… but for people on foot, not yet”, added the specialist, who stresses the project the merchant is not manned and electric motor Yara Birkeland current that will operate Brevik in Porsgrunn in the interior of a fjord south of Norway. Will start, stop and travel independently. “It will eliminate trucks that clog traffic in the area”, explains Llechs. Another example, this time closer, it is Gale, the first vehicle marine drone that will operate “in brief” in Spain, according to sources of Navantia, a company that has manufactured at the request of the Port of Ceuta. Will perform tasks of surveillance and security. Can be manned -its capacity is for six people – or driven by remote control, but it has a autonomy of up to ten hours in normal conditions.

For the maritime sector, the problem is that these normal conditions are rarely given outside of a bay or a harbor. The open sea is another story. “It’s much more unexpected than a road”, said Ana Pulido, director of software at Navantia. Wave conditions, winds, marine currents… the atmospheric conditions are changing fast. This affects the slower development of the drones of the sea. Also aspects such as piracy or the difficult maneuverability of ships: do not stop quickly or spin, or go back up with agility. Another aspect that slows down the evolution is the lack of regulation -much more delayed than the air – which will allow for the displacement of vessels without crew from one point to another. Less pollution, high in the ships -especially cruise ships and container ships – is another great challenge for you, as you will Seeia Medina has been found, much remains to be done. “All will come”, concludes Javier Noriega, president of the Maritime Cluster of Andalusia.


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