Airspace World: Estonia Aviation and ANRA partner to co-develop UAS test facility in Tartu

Estonian Aviation Academy has partnered with ANRA Technologies jointly co-develop, manage, and operate an Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) testing facility in Tartu, Estonia, for the wide-scale development and deployment of UAS technologies for U-space implementation.

The successful completion of initial testing and validation phases in September 2023 with the Estonian Transport Administration, Estonian Business and Innovation Agency, and the Tartu Science Park Foundation has paved the way for ANRA and EAVA to establish permanent test facilities for U-space operations and supporting infrastructure, says the press release. Leveraging ANRA’s airspace and fleet management technology solutions combined with EAVA’s aviation expertise, facilities and staff will provide a first-of-its-kind sandbox in the region.

The collaboration aims to provide a test environment for de-risking and maturing technologies and services that align with EU U-space regulations while also serving as a catalyst for accelerating innovation and market adoption of aerial services.

Establishing a U-space sandbox will support stakeholders in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities in accordance with EU Regulation 2021/664, 2021/665, and 2021/666, facilitating the evaluation of their business and operational strategies. It is designed to allow the Competent Authority to establish a gradual approach to enable commercial operations and service provision in a real-world environment until U-space is fully implemented.

EAVA supports regional efforts to develop an innovative aerial services ecosystem where U-space stakeholders can converge to validate and implement UAS solutions addressing urban challenges. This collaboration aims to set up a sandbox as a U-space integration platform and facilitate obtaining regulatory compliance to pave the way towards commercial UAS operations and services provision in the real-world urban environment. The physical and digital infrastructure for the test centre is due to be established and available for validation activities by the second half of 2024.

Maiken Kull, Vice Rector of Development at the Estonian Aviation Academy said. “This collaboration is set to unlock new possibilities and contribute to the broader landscape of UAS development, making Estonia a focal point for advancements in U-space implementation.”

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