Valkenburg: Aerialtronics backs call for Northern Europe’s first ‘Unmanned Valley’ for drones
Aerialtronics supports move by deputy mayor and Prince Pieter-Christiaan for unmanned systems site at Valkenburg airfield in The Hague, The Netherlands.
The Valkenburg airfield would be an ideal site for an Unmanned Valley where businesses, such as Aerialtronics, knowledge and government institutions cooperate to develop unmanned aircraft systems, says Ingrid van Engelshoven, the deputy mayor of The Hague.
The deputy mayor was backed by Prince Pieter-Christiaan at the opening of the TUSExpo 2015 at the World Forum in The Hague today, the first major conference in Europe dedicated to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
There are plans to develop Valkenburg, a former naval air base, into a site for 5,000 homes, which would be a serious blow to the Unmanned Valley initiative. But Van Engelshoven said: “I am not against building new houses but I am in favour of innovation. With the presence of the national security cluster, The Hague Security Delta, The Hague has become a security hotspot. We know that cooperation between businesses, knowledge institutions and governments leads to new opportunities.
“An Unmanned Valley guarantees space for practice and innovation. The European Space Agency Centre of Noordwijk (ESTEC), TNO, TU Delft, Leiden University and the partners of The Hague Security Delta will all benefit from this. We will strengthen the knowledge cluster and create jobs.”
The Hague Security Delta’s report A Blessing in the Skies? Challenges and Opportunities in Creating Space for UAVs in the Netherlands, was also launched at TUSExpo 2015 and endorses the deputy mayor’s vision. The report contains recommendations using drones, including the importance of short and long-term regulations and the development of special flight zones to test UAVs. The cooperation between governments, the private sector and knowledge institutions is paramount, the report says.
Prince Pieter-Christiaan, who opened the TUSExpo 2015, said: “The contribution of drones to our economy is expressed in many research reports and we heard the deputy mayor of The Hague underlining her interest to concentrate activities in this industry in this region.
“Personally, I have seen many new business models come to life due to companies, present here today, joining forces with research industries and universities to develop new solutions.
“Over the last year, I have been a strong supporter of this industry and the range of possibilities it represents, in my efforts to start the first Unmanned Valley in Europe, here in the province of South Holland.
“It has been given strong support by policymakers, both local and regional, the economic development board, various stakeholders like The Hague Security Delta, Leiden University and TNO, and last but not least, the private sector you represent here today.
“I hope we can celebrate not just the success of a highly innovative TUSExpo 2015 with high-profile companies present, but to launch the first Unmanned Valley in the Netherlands, where the innovations will bring lasting effect to our economic development.”
Lucas van Oostrum, co-founder and CTO of Aerialtronics, said: “It’s the ideal location. It is close to the North Sea, which is perfect for beyond line-of-sight flying, as well as to technical universities and research centres. All this guarantees a space for practice and innovation for technology driven industries.”
Plans for the Unmanned Valley include a centre for training drone pilots to encourage UAV users to fly responsibly while a number of high-tech companies will be encouraged to move there to create a synergic cluster of companies engaged in drone-related activities.
Jeremy Wigmore, CEO of Aerialtronics, said: “The opportunity to move to Valkenburg and be part of the Unmanned Valley is a very exciting prospect for our company’s ambitions. Drones, when used correctly, will have a positive impact on business globally and this facility will be a significant step for us, the region and the industry as a whole.”
Aerialtronics is a leading international manufacturer of state of the art, high quality unmanned aircraft systems for civilian purposes. The company sells multirotor Alturas for a wide variety of applications in numerous countries worldwide. Aerialtronics’ systems are designed and developed in-house according to aviation grade quality standards making the Altura systems consistently reliable as well as stable. Aerialtronics defines the future of unmanned aircraft systems!