SEA: First test cargo drone flight successful

Posted: 11 July 2024 | | No comments yet

The first test cargo drone flight, with both vertical take-off and landing, flew a successful eight-kilometre round trip.

sea milan drone flight cargo

Credit: SEA Milan Airport

The first successful test flight with electric drones with vertical take-off and landing has been carried out for cargo transport by TECHNO SKY.

The NIMBUS drone, from the Enav group company subsidiary, carried a light load of cargo from Milan Malpensa, reaching the Barbarini & Foglia logistics warehouse, covering an eight-kilometre trip there and back.

The project was made feasible due to the European U-ELCOME (U-space European COMmon dEpLoyment) project, which was coordinated by EUROCONTROL within the context of the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking consortium. This was co-funded by the European Union under the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) programme, where SEA had the role of co-ordinator of the Milan Sandbox. The Sandbox is a virtual or physical controlled test environment where, after starting a dialogue with ENAC, challenging activities from a regulatory and technological perspective can be conducted for a limited time period.

The aim of the project is to test innovative solutions for cargo transport, using drones and contributing to the development of U-space services, which are designed to ensure safe and efficient access of drones to the airspace. This transport method tries to optimise delivery times for goods, reducing CO2 emissions and promoting environmental sustainability.

SEA collaborates with numerous Italian partners, including Enav, D-flight, EuroUSC Italia, Telespazio, TECHNO SKY and Dronus in planning and developing flight campaigns, and with ENAC for regulatory issues and authorisations. 

Further flights operated by Telespazio with Dronus and other operators are scheduled for autumn 2024 as part of the Italian Demonstration Cluster coordinated by ENAV.

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