Amsterdam Drone Week: Amsterdam develops AI-based inner-city urban drone test centre

Less than a year after the Amsterdam Drone Lab launched, the inner-city test ground located in the city’s naval dockyard, is providing a ‘living laboratory’ to test ideas to help accelerate the development of sustainable, future-proof cities. “We hope to get approval to test in the city soon,” said Joshua Serrao, Gemeente Amsterdam CTO. “A city-centre test bed will be a first.” He acknowledged social acceptance is a key element. There are also many legal issues to address, according to Thijs Meijer, Meineterrein Amsterdam. “We hope to transform the legal issues to ease this pathway. We plan three or four use cases with multiple partners and to engage with the community in a step by step approach. We want more partners.” Dutch communications company KPN aims to develop reliable network services sufficient to support urban operations. “It has to be safe, reliable and successful,” said Jacob Groote, KPN. “We are building an ecosystem involving different companies. We have a lot of ideas”.

Amsterdam City is also testing Artificial Intelligence in combination with drones. A project initially launched using static cameras at the start of the pandemic is being tested to support other city services. According to Theo van der Plas from the Dutch National Police, the technology enables faster response times and provides more flexible safety and security services when used in combination with sensors onboard drones. Amsterdam City is using AI technology to interpret data while also respecting privacy interests. Blurring individual images to prevent recognition, the technology provides valuable information for crowd management and safety measures. “It is important this is socially acceptable. Trust is very important. The right checks and balances need to be in place.”

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