Germany opens regional test centre in Aachen for automated vertical mobility research and development

The Institute of Flight System Dynamics at RWTH Aachen University in Germany’s Rhenish mining area is collaborating with other university institutes and partners from industry to create an interdisciplinary competence and test centre. The Aldenhoven Testing Center is a competence and test centre for networked and automated vertical mobility.

According to the RWTH press release, the work focuses on research, development and operation of vertically launchable unmanned aerial vehicles, for example for transporting urgent goods, for data acquisition/digital production and for supporting rescue teams. It also involves testing safe automated operation of vertical takeoff air cabs. All air systems take off and land vertically. A runway is not required for this, but instead a U-space framework is needed as airspace in which safe simultaneous operation of these air traffic participants is possible, even with today’s manned aviation. The CVM thus sees itself as a complement to the research activities at the Aeropark Aachen-Merzbrück and at the Innovation Airport in Mönchengladbach.

Transport Minister Ina Brandes said: “North Rhine-Westphalia is home to Mobility 4.0 with self-driving buses in regular service, automated inland waterway vessels, a statewide e-tariff for buses and trains, or quiet and emission-free e-airplanes taking off in Aachen-Merzbrück. Now, in this excellent research region around RWTH and the Rhenish mining area, there is Germany’s first test center for transport drones and autonomously operated air cabs that can take off and land vertically quickly and in very confined spaces. The new ‘Center for Vertical Mobility’ strengthens North Rhine-Westphalia’s role as a pioneer in the development of air transport of the future. I’m particularly pleased that research is also being conducted into aircraft for emergencies to save human lives.”

The Institute of Flight System Dynamics is already involved in research projects on innovative air mobility with other institutes at the University. These are funded by the federal government or the European Union. These include the projects “EULE” for European transport solutions for medical goods, “Grenzflug+” for the cross-border search for injured persons, “SAFIR-med”, also for medical care, and “FlutNetz”, a project for emergency care of snakebite victims from flooded areas in Bangladesh. At CVM, this research is being merged with other projects.

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