March 14, 2019

The Urban Drone Testbed Pre-study

Drone testbed for social benefit

There is a fast development of drone usage worldwide, and Sweden is no different. With emerging drone technologies, new public utility services and products can be developed and contribute to a more sustainable urban environment. Therefore, a pre-study is currently carried out by Urban ICT Arena in close collaboration with IQ Samhällsbyggnad.

The pre-study aims to assemble the necessary actors and conditions in order to develop and test drone relevant hardware, software and regulations and by that design the socio-technical system for safe and large-scale, regular drone usage in an urban environment. This testbed – the Urban Drone Testbed – will be situated in Kista, the world’s second largest ICT cluster after Silicon Valley, in the outskirts of Stockholm.

Kista from a drone perspective!

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Shot by Richard Wiren (Ericsson). Click here for full screen.

The testbed aims to serve as a quadruple helix node where collaboration between academia, private and public sector and, perhaps most importantly, the civic society can meet and interact. The aim is to establish a testbed that will be open to public and private actors to develop and test drone services and applications relevant to their businesses, operations or research at the same time as public acceptance for drones can be achieved. Public acceptance is crucial if urban drone transport will be a reality.

At this point, the project’s Steering Committee consists of representatives from Urban ICT Arena, IQ Samhällsbyggnad, Ericsson ONE, Telia Company, Swedish Civil Aviation Administration, Swedish Transport Administration, Linköping University, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), City of Stockholm, RISE and Globhe. KTH with the Smart Mobility Lab within Integrated Transport Research Lab is getting on board in this very moment. A reference group of drone SME:s is also connected to the project, since these companies are potential future user of the testbed. The SME:s are not only giving valuable input concerning the testbed’s technical requirements, but also to the testbed’s business model.

So far, a strong consortium of actors has been established and the Steering Committee is meeting on a regular basis. A SWOT analysis has been performed in order to identify the potential gains and pains of urban drone transportation and a sketch of different flight zones has been developed. In short, the analysis is showing that the testbed not only has potential to stimulate technical and business model innovation while it is creating value for the citizens, but also to enable testing and validation of drone technologies, which is a sought-after opportunity within the drone community.

In March of 2019, the project’s management group will travel to San Francisco and San Diego to meet with representatives from Uber, NASA, Fortem Technologies, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Planck AeroSystems as well as San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. San Diego is of interest since the city has been selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct drone testing as part of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program.

The pre-study will be finalized by the end of June 2019 and will then have an attractive, viable suggestion for a large-scale implementation of the testbed as well as a high level organization on standby.

Visit the Urban Drone Testbed site for further information.


David Bohn Stoltz

Project Manager, Urban Drone Testbed

IQ Samhällsbyggnad

+4672-206 77 14

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