The AMU-LED Open Demo Day in Spain, led by the Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia (ITG), took place in the city of Santiago de Compostela on September 28th and 29th. The event was completed with two unmanned air taxi flights at the Rozas aerodrome in the city of Lugo, on October 3rd and November 10th.
The Cidade da Cultura, an architectural complex designed by Peter Eisenman and intended for cultural uses, was the chosen setting. In this location were installed the flight operation center, the presentation room and eight of the 11 vertiports involved in more than 30 performed operations, both real and simulated.
The opening session on the 28th started with an Institutional Welcome from Carlos Calvo Orosa, General Manager of the Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia (ITG). Afterwards, it was projected an explanatory video specific for the media and attending institutions. There were several presentations made by Pablo Menéndez-Ponte, Project Coordinator in NTT DATA; Patricia Argerey Vilar, GAIN Director in Xunta de Galicia; Sergio Vázquez Torrón, INECO President; and Xosé Sánchez Bugallo, Mayor of Santiago de Compostela.
Later, practical explanations were held at vertiport number 2 and there was a visit to the ATCC (Air Traffic Control Centre), previous to the round table discussion “U-space: Cornerstone of Urban Air Mobility”. The programme was completed on the 28th with a meeting of the AMU-LED Advisory Board.
During the afternoon of the 28th and the entire day of the 29th, ITG, AXEGA, Cranfield, Catec, INECO, EHang and Airbus operators carried out several planned activities. More than 30 operations in inspection flights, aerial photography, surveillance, freight transport, air taxi flights (simulated due to aeronautical authority restrictions), as well as priority public service and telecommunication missions. All of this is focused on the five main set objectives:
- Test the CIS and U-space services deployed in the area, by using an infrastructure with the tracking service centralized in the CIS. That is, all USSPs (U-space service providers) send their telemetry data to the CIS and then the CIS manages the information to provide traffic information to all USSPs.
- Demonstrate safe operations in heavy traffic with interaction between manned (HEMS – Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) and unmanned aviation.
- Validate communications between the U-space world and ATC.
- Validate aviation rules and procedures for safe operation in nominal (non-emergency) and non-nominal operations.
- Test essential ground and aerial communications equipments for communications and traffic monitoring.
Air taxi flights
ITG engineers also coordinated the tests at Rozas Aerodrome facilities, which hosted the flights of two different aerotaxis: the Chinese manufacturer eHang and the Spanish company UMILES Next, equipped with TECNALIA technology.
On October 4th, it took place the flight of the EH216, an air taxi from the manufacturer eHang. This electric-powered aircraft can carry up to 250 kg (enough to transport two people over a distance of 35 km) and reach a speed of 130 km/h. The flight was monitored by the U-Space AIRUS service platform developed by ITG and NTT DATA, which enables the efficient and safe integration of UAS into airspace. During the tests, the air taxi performed 4 flight missions combining simulated light drone traffic, which enabled the demonstration of the AIRUS system’s ability to react in real time to different contingencies, such as deviations from the flight plan, runway obstacles and restricted areas in the air.
The eVTOL Concept Integrity by UMILES Next, equipped with TECNALIA technology, was tested on November 10th. The air taxi is the first Spanish-made electric-powered air taxi and is designed to transport one person and cover urban distances of 15 kilometres in 15 minutes. The AIRUS platform provided during the flight the ‘Common Information Services’, and together with Anra Technologies Software also provided the air traffic management services.