The Air Taxi developed by TECNALIA participates in the innovation node that will enable the real air mobility experience of the future

20 April 2021

TECNALIA inaugurates the Hera Drone Hub in Zaragoza with demonstrations by DHL, Everis, Delsatt, ACG Drone, DJI, the Air Taxi and the Local Police of Zaragoza.

The Hera Drone Hub node was created as the first urban space in Europe where unmanned aircraft tests and training can be carried out: research and development, training, certification, and demonstration flights. It is a space for testing in a real environment, motivated by the imminent integration of drones in urban airspace (UAM) and the upcoming transformation of the single European airspace.

TECNALIA presented the Air Taxi, which has been developed in Donostia-San Sebastian, a prototype among the first in Europe and the first in Spain, which is expected to be a reality in the market shortly. The vehicle is designed to transport one person, although it could be scaled up to 4, and cover urban distances of 15 kilometres. It is an aerodynamic cabin with a total of four propulsion drones, which move independently and in a coordinated way, transmitting a feeling of comfort similar to that of a car.

Innovation in companies

DELSAT, an Aragonese entity, presented its unmanned aircraft belonging to the “Pharmadron” project, designed for the logistics and distribution of pharmaceutical products with aerial robots for pharmacies in remote areas, which are difficult to access, under adverse weather conditions, and in emergencies. The aim is to guarantee universal access to medicines, regardless of location, age or social class.

The Aragonese company ACG DRONE operated a DHL Express parcel transport simulation flight. ACG DRONE is specialised in industrial inspections and thermographic works and is the first Aragonese operator authorised to fly in any environment in Spain, both urban and aeronautical civil or military.

The Chinese company DJI, leader in the drone market, presented an operation flying the new Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced, which has not yet been seen in Spain. This aircraft, for public safety and rescue, offers precise positioning and omnidirectional obstacle detection with a range of eight kilometres and 31 minutes of autonomy.

The Local Police carried out a simulation with a Mavic Enterprise Dual craft equipped with a thermal camera, loudspeakers and LED lamp; essential elements for police security functions.

During the day, a demonstration of the UAV 5G project was carried out. This communications system allows drones to be controlled using the 4G/5G telecommunications network. With this technology, there is no longer a distance limit between the pilot and the aircraft. Similarly, in the presentation of the Hera Drone Hub, a BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) category flight was performed where the pilot, who was located in the Zaragoza Hub, controlled a drone operation at 400 km, in the province of Valladolid.

This demonstration proves that the airspace of Hera Drone Hub is not only a flight space but, thanks to the technology developed by UAV 5G, it has the potential to become a control centre where drone operations can be coordinated throughout the entire Spanish and European territory.