Drones, high-tech puzzles for advanced users

News | March 22, 2019

25 high-tech engineers came to this conclusion on Thursday 21 March during a masterclass, organized for Innovatiecluster Drachten at Neopost Technologies in Drachten. The combination of satellite navigation, camera observation, big data and legislation and regulations provides high-tech puzzles for advanced users.

A quick question to the audience shows that 80 percent of the engineers are drone pilots themselves. A real toy for boys. Not only engineers from the affiliated high-tech companies can be updated this afternoon. Technicians from non-ICD companies are also showing interest. For example in Hein Zelle's clear mini-lecture from the Dutch Aerospace Center (NLR). He shows how a gigantic network of satellites at an altitude of 20,000 kilometers is essential for the daily communication, navigation and information needs on earth. And how all kinds of physical phenomena can influence accurate positioning.


When you talk about drones, you quickly come to aviation and the rules that apply here. Because no matter how fun and ingenious drones are, sharing the same airspace with airplanes causes quite a few headaches. Not for Judith van Bruggen, also from NLR. She knows all about the U-space arrangements and explains how a collection of services and procedures ensure that large numbers of drones can safely use the airspace. That this is necessary is apparent from her example, in which an unknown drone pilot disrupted air traffic at Heathrow Airport near London for days. According to Van Bruggen, the new rules will prevent such problems in the future. And that is not a luxury, because drones are increasingly taking over existing economic and social ones.

ambulance drone

For example in healthcare. Jan Westera from drone specialist flying.nl from Dokkum shows a special drone that transports medicines from Lauwersoog to Schiermonnikoog and back. For example, the general practitioner can continue to provide care with, for example, medicines and blood, thanks to a so-called ambulance drone. Westera talks about the challenge of this project in which there must be no less than 7 kilometers of consequences over the Wadden Sea, including flight time out-of-sight. Defying high wind forces, sustainable battery management, flight path optimization and landing behind the dike without a direct control signal are true high-tech puzzles for the enthusiast. Once resolved, this will provide timely assistance in rural areas in the near future. A life-saving device can then be flown from Lauwersoog to Schiermonnikoog within five minutes.