Finnish transport agency considers national U-space demand and potential

The Finnish Transport and Communication Agency (Traficom) has published a report on Urban Air Mobility (UAM) as a business, which predicts increasing demand over the next 5-10 years.

For example, according to a 2023 report by the City of Helsinki cited in the Traficom report, the commercial potential of UAM services is EUR20 million to 80 million annually (measured by turnover). In terms of operations, a study by Robots Expert for the City of Oulu in 2021 estimated that up to 20 million packages per year would be transported in Finland by drones. Additional studies are underway around the country to determine the potential for other applications.

Traficom cautions that its forecast is dependent on social acceptance as well as how commercially viable the use cases are and how willing and capable U-space service providers are to enter the Finnish market. To meet market potential, the report recommends outlining potential use cases, utilising existing airspace solutions, testing different UAM services, and fostering research and development.

The report notes that each U-space airspace must have at least one U-space service provider, which should offer drone operators at least four mandatory services: network identification, location awareness, uncrewed flight permits, and traffic information. Traficom lists two alternative services as weather information and compliance monitoring and notes that these and future alternative services may be determined as mandatory based on the results of airspace risk assessments.

Traficom says the development and implementation of U-space services will inevitably call for investments, listing the biggest costs as testing and development to meet regulation and interoperability requirements. 

With this in mind, the report questions whether there is sufficient demand and ability in Finland to become a U-space service provider nationally, or whether, for example, larger service providers certified by EASA would offer U-space services across Europe in places where there is sufficient need and demand.

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