The Estonian Transport Administration, with funding from the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency, has launched a project to develop a concept for a sandbox for automated aviation systems that will be built in Tartu.
"It’s important for the Estonian Transport Administration to ensure that all interested parties have access to modern and versatile infrastructure for testing and validating any necessary solutions for the development of various innovative technologies," said Üllar Salumäe, Director of the Aviation at the Estonian Transport Administration.
The tender conducted by Estonian Business and Innovation Agency was awarded to the international company ANRA Technologies and the contract was signed on 21 April 2023.
"This is a cooperation project aiming to procure an innovative solution in need of further development, as there were no ready-made solutions on the market. For the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency, this is not only an opportunity to contribute to the development of breakthrough technologies, but also the next step in the advancement of activities to support innovation sourcing. We decided to carry out the procurement ourselves instead of awarding a grant, and the result of the procurement will be handed over to the Estonian Transport Administration," explained innovation expert Terje Kaelep from the innovation department of the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency.
"ANRA is thrilled to have been selected for this opportunity to advance the Estonia drone ecosystem by deploying our U-space and Common Information service solutions," stated Founder and CEO, Amit Ganjoo. "This sandbox is just the beginning of other activities that will help unlock the vast potential for the region and greater Europe by providing a location to conduct validation and verification activities for U-space stakeholders."
The establishment of a sandbox will open up opportunities for the wide-scale development and deployment of unmanned aviation technologies. This will prepare the way for innovative aviation concepts and safety standards, and facilitate the safe testing of automated aviation systems.
The long-term aim is to create an innovation environment for unmanned aviation that bridges all key stakeholders, including airspace users, industrial companies and research institutions. This approach is an opportunity to create a sustainable development environment for current and future technologies related to the introduction of unmanned aircraft systems and related solutions.
The results of the research undertaken by ANRA Technologies should be finalised by the end of September and will serve as the basis for the establishment of a sandbox in Tartu, where future U-space service providers and parties developing unmanned aviation technologies will be able to test and validate their services and solutions.
Tartu Science Park, the Estonian Aviation Academy and Estonian Air Navigation Services are the parties involved in the work. The cooperation project ‘Expertise for the development of an unmanned aviation (U-space) sandbox’ will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020.