The city council of Zaragoza has given the green light for the construction a vertiport, a hub for landing and take-off of drones in the city to transport goods and passengers. A first in Europe, according to the city council, which granted a ten-year lease permit for the use of a 7,500 square metres parking area south of the Zaragoza Expo.
The project is being developed as part of the European Commission-supported project for urban air mobility – . U-ELCOME is to foster Europe-wide U-space implementation by gaining experience with the implementation of U1 and U2 U-space services, namely e-registration, e-identification, geofencing (U1) and flight preparation, flight authorisation, tracking, and integration with conventional air traffic control (U2). For this purpose, demonstrations are being developed across 15 locations in Spain, Italy, and France.
The vertiport in Zaragoza is the first of its kind to be created in the process. The construction and operation of the vertiport should allow gaining experience with the integration of electrically powered vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs) in the urban environment. It also provides an opportunity to test new economic models. One of the first use cases that will be investigated concerns the transport of medical goods by means of drones.
The vertiport may be a first of its kind, but the city and specific site are not new as a testbed for drones. The site is already used as a training and testing ground for drones, hosting the , which has been developed as part of the project , which was also supported with EU funding.
According to the city, the creation of the drone hubs will provide new means for efficient and sustainable intermodal transport, shortening travel times drastically in the process. In addition, the city expects the project will contribute to creating knowledge and employment in Zaragoza, attracting companies to carry out high-tech validations, qualified employment and companies that want to complete the certification phase.
The promoters of the project have stressed that "Zaragoza becomes a scalable and exportable benchmark to other cities as an applicable example from the point of view of services, public-private collaborations and business models".
- Publication date
- 5 May 2023
- Autonomous and connected vehicles