NLR Drone DigiCity: the new test facility for launching Innovative Air Mobility

NLR Drone DigiCity is the new facility at the NLR Drone Centre in Marknesse. Start-ups, businesses and organisations (research,  education, public authorities) can experiment and test their drones and systems here in a flexible operational simulated urban environment. This makes it possible to determine in a conditioned environment what the impact of the city is on the drone and what impact the drone has on the city.  This ‘smart city’ comprises 24 shipping containers that can be configured in various ways. To monitor this environment, a measurement system is being developed with a high-tech digital infrastructure,  sensors and measurement devices in the city and on the drone. Assessing how ‘city-proof’ the drones are will show what is still needed before they can be used in practice safely in urban environments. This will help simplify the licensing process and reduce the time to market.

DigiCity co-working space
In addition to the outdoor testing facility, there is also be an indoor component available. Start-ups, business and organisations can establish themselves (temporarily) in a co-working space (workstations and workshop) in the NLR Drone Centre, where they can prepare and monitor experiments and tests together with the NLR’s experts on drones, Innovative Air Mobility (IAM) and U-space. This puts them in direct contact with other entrepreneurs and with NLR’s drone and IAM experts. NLR can support you in the various types of tests by helping to prepare and monitor experiments. This creates a drone ecosystem where different organisations can reinforce each other.

Transport drone on hydrogen
Shore Systems is the launching customer at NLR Drone DigiCity. Shore collaborates with NLR on the development of a VTOL transport drone fuelled by hydrogen. The aim is for this device to be able to carry a payload of 5 kg and have a flight time of 2 to 3 hours. NLR’s expertise in drone design, tuning and hydrogen power for aviation, will let it make a major contribution to the design and execution of the test and demo flights.

NLR Drone DigiCity offers:

  • An operational simulated urban environment (24 shipping containers in flexible configurations)
  • Technical measurement and analysis rooms and a digital twin of the outdoor test environment
  • Closed airspace EHR66 (0 to 1500 ft / 3500 ft) for testing, experimental and demo flights with BVLOS-operational characteristics
  • Paved runway of 325 x 15 m
  • Inspiring co-working space with workstations and a workshop
  • Access to NLR’s unique R&D expertise and facilities in drones and aeronautics

More information

For more information about using the NLR Drone DigiCity test facilities and indoor workstations and workshop, please contact Tim Leeuwerink and Timo Nijman.

NLR Drone DigiCity is being implemented through a grant from Kansen voor West under REACT EU and NLR.