Benidorm Selected To Test Drone Safety

A drone in Benidorm overlooking Peacock Island

Drone flights will be tested in the U-Space project. Credit: Benidorm City Council

BENIDORM has once again been chosen as a pioneer in the development of air navigation safety systems by becoming a test site for drone flights.

The town council announced the U-Space project, which will establish the guidelines to achieve safe navigation throughout the continent, during a conference on Thursday, July 13.

The U-Space project is configured as a space for drones to receive services and information “with the aim of avoiding conflicts and collisions and flying safely”, explained Norberto Vera, a representative of Eurocontrol, the European organisation for air navigation safety.

“The purpose is to define the roles and responsibilities of the users of the system so that it is secure, that it allows privacy and that it favours the continuous growth of this industry”, he said.

“Benidorm, in fact, due to its characteristics, has become an urban laboratory in which the guidelines are applied and analysed to guarantee safety in the navigation of drones in the future, or for the definition of national airspace in this matter”, he continued.

Benidorm was chosen “because it has multiple scenarios, a wonderful environment such as its skyline, a natural park, an island and the urban sprawl which generates a model scalable to other cities and environments”, said professor Israel Quintanilla.

Among the advantages that Benidorm brings are “that it is a town open to changes in new technologies, with previous experience of projects with drones, and the fact that it is a very socially accepted technology”, summarised Quintanilla.

The professor explained some of the contributions that Benidorm must make. These include a coordination centre for the U-Space project, which will be located at the old police checkpoint on Poniente beach, a heliport “that can be used as a vertiport” and the digitisation of the town with urban planning and population densities analyses. Quintanilla also clarified that for the planning of the airspace, the participation of all local institutions is required, including police, maritime rescue and even the theme parks.

“Benidorm is delighted that it has been taken into account for these innovation projects”, said the mayor of Benidorm, Toni Pérez.

The first project of drone flight tests for use in transport within the European DELOREAN project was held in Benidorm in February 2023.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.