The Nordic Drone Initiative has worked on the development of sustainable drone-based transport services in the Nordic region.
The project has among other developed a feasibility study looking at potential industries and areas where drone transport can be implemented. It has also developed business cases, proposed new regulations, and completed a cross-border test flight.
Great potential in drone transport within logistics
The project has among other concluded that outdoor as well as indoor and onsite deliveries using drones present a significant economic potential and can be widely adopted in the next ten years. At the same time, the project concludes that transportation of humans will not be able to meet the legislative requirements in the same period.
Tor Skoglund, Project Manager at the Nordic Drone Initiative elaborates:
“Based on the findings we can say that we will not be able to transport people with drones within the next 15 years. That’s for sure. However, logistics has the possibility to expand a lot. Right now, drones are mostly used in agriculture and for inspection. But we see that there is a great potential in logistics as well.”
One of the most important outcomes of the project is the creation of a Nordic drone network. With the network, the foundation is laid for further collaboration:
“The project has come up with some very specific results about Nordic conditions. Industry needs, but also specific things such as flying in cold climates. But I believe the overall product is the connections between the different partners in the Nordics. If you know each other, it is much easier to pick up the phone and work together on future projects,” says Tor Skoglund.
Need for harmonized regulations in the Nordics
One of the aims of the project has been to investigate the challenges related to flying drones across Nordic borders. The lack of Nordic collaboration within drone transport became obvious in the project, especially during the cross-border test flight:
“As a part of the project we had to do a test flight across Nordic borders. However, it was so difficult to find a commercial operator who would fly cross-border in the Nordics. No commercial operator was interested,” says Tor Skoglund.
“So what happened is, we had a cross-border flight from Finland to the Baltics instead. Why was this an issue? Simply because of the differences in regulations and the handovers between the different Nordic authorities. It makes it not really interesting for commercial operators.”
“But apparently it is not a problem to fly between Finland and the Baltics,” he adds, and concludes:
“To have cross border drone transport in the Nordics, we need harmonized regulations and synchronized systems. The different national organizations are not working together right now.”
The aim of the Nordic Drone Initiative has been to form a collaborative innovation platform to bring relevant stakeholders together to accelerate the introduction of drone-based mobility solutions. The project is funded under Nordic Innovation’s Mobility and Connectivity programs.
You can read more about the conclusions in the project report.