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Scandinavia's first official UAS test facility opens in Denmark

Photo: COWI
​​In the spring of 2015, a new test facility for UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) opens in Odense, Denmark. The facility is expected to be highly useful to UAS manufacturers and users alike. COWI sponsors the project and will contribute surveying and design services.

Sometime next spring, a new UAS test facility will open its doors in Denmark. The facility will be among the first of its kind on a global scale, placing Denmark at the forefront of UAS technology. For Danish companies and research institutions, the facility will boost their competitive strength in the battle for a global top position in UAS technology.

Benefitting manufacturers and users

The test facility will offer previously unseen opportunities for manufacturers and users. Thanks to it, UAS manufacturers will be able to test new, innovative UAS solutions before starting production, and users will be able to test the quality of the latest UASs on the market before making a buy.

"The new test facility will offer premises that aren't available anywhere else. For instance, it is not permitted to fly at higher altitude than 100 metres in Denmark due to air traffic, but at H.C. Andersen Airport in Odense you will be able to test UASs and sensors in the higher airspace. Efforts are also being made to find a solution that allows for test flights where the UAS is out of the operator's sight, which is generally not permitted by Danish law," says Jesper Falk, Market Director of Surveying and Land Administration.

Here to stay

The UAS market is undergoing rapid developments, and the European Commission estimates that by 2050, more than 150,000 jobs will be created in the field of UAS technology, and by 2023, the turnover in the UAS market is estimated to reach DKK 500 billion. The widespread understanding of the potential of UAS technology is also reflected in COWI's fleet of UASs – today, we own six UASs compared to one in 2012.

"Our engineers have really grasped how UASs can help provide other and more innovative solutions when it comes to surveying, mapping, traffic monitoring and inspection of structures," says Falk and continues: "We're looking into how more advanced sensors can be an even greater support to our engineers, across services."

Sky-high ambitions

Basically, the test facility will be a photogrammetric facility that features a range of surfaces in order to test UAS accuracy and precision to the highest extent possible. Part of the facility will have an asphalt surface in order to test UAS equipment on a hard surface. It will also feature obstacles such as railway sleepers, containers, a wind turbine, concrete blocks as well as grooves and hills. The hope is that the new facility will increase with time, as the available technology gets better.

Launched by UAS Danmark, the project is co-financed by the Danish Geodata Agency and COWI via precision surveying, design and installation of objects.


By Karen Øksnebjerg, kaoe@cowi.com
Published 18.12.2014

LAST UPDATED: 16.09.2016