Amsterdam Drone Week: Experts plan drone taxis for next year

More than 2,000 drone experts, policymakers and companies are coming to the RAI in Amsterdam for a three-day conference on drones starting Tuesday. During Amsterdam Drone Week (ADW), they will discuss how drones can be used for passenger transport. Drones have not yet been used as cabs, this is expected to happen for the first time next year during the Paris Olympics.

Currently, drones are used by police to monitor demonstrations or football matches. Before this year’s summer, the traffic association ANWB also plans to use drones for emergency deliveries to hospitals.

In Europe, tests are already being conducted with taxi drones with pilots but no passengers yet, said Nynke Lipsius, director of ADW. This is already going “very well,” Lipsius claimed. She pointed out that there are already European traffic rules, rules that aircraft must follow, and rules about what pilot licenses pilots must have. However, agreements still need to be reached on where drones can fly. “Municipalities and provinces will have to get to work and develop policies for drone use,” the ADW director stated.

During the event, Dutch police will present updates on the use of drones in law enforcement and investigations, the organization said. A NATO researcher will also talk about the role of drones in airspace defense. In addition, Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Enschede will show how drones can be used for security and to put out fires.

Saxion is researching drones for various applications, said researcher and lecturer Abeje Mersha. “For example, we’re also developing drones that fly to an accident and tell emergency responders what’s going on. Or drones that can detect oak processionary moth caterpillars before they develop fire hairs.”

Furthermore, Japan aims to be able to transport people in drones with remote-controlled drivers by 2030. However, it is not yet known when this will be possible in Europe. The organizers of the World Expo 2025 in Japan want to use drones to transport visitors between the two cities where the World Expo is being held, namely in Kobe and Osaka. A pilot will then have to fly up to five people back and forth in a drone at the same time. Therefore, Japanese and French companies and government organizations are coming to ADW to talk about how they will do this.

This year marks the fifth time ADW has been held, and its theme is “Innovative aerial mobility to connect cities and regions.”

Reporting by ANP

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