EDIS - Electric aircraft and drones serving communities
EDIS is a collaborative project between LFV, KATLA Aero, Guideline Geo and Luleå University of Technology and aims to demonstrate the possibilities of using drones and electric aircraft to improve community services and transport in sparsely populated areas with limited access to essential services.
What demands will unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) place on airspace and air traffic control? The project demonstrates how new drone technology can be used to achieve more sustainable and efficient flight operations - especially in sparsely populated regions. The knowledge is useful for the Swedish Transport Administration, LFV, the Swedish Transport Agency and other stakeholders, who in turn disseminate it to the wider community. Local industry, for example in forestry and power generation, has shown increased interest in collaborating on new technology. EDIS is funded by the Swedish Transport Administration and was one of the first to use LARC as the home arena for an electric aviation project.
Emergency services and surveillance in rural areas involve long distances. Here, drones have the potential to contribute a range of services. Together with general issues of airspace, security, communications and remote management, these services are the focus of the EDIS project. The results will catalyse other future projects in the fields of automation (execution of programmed tasks), remote control and electric flight.
The EDIS project brings together Swedish excellence in relevant areas to demonstrate opportunities to improve public services in sparsely populated areas, helping residents feel secure there. The technical level differs from other ongoing drone projects: EDIS uses vehicles with the potential for speeds of 250 km/h and a range of 150 kilometres.
Two focus areas
The project focuses on two areas. The first area involves providing emergency response in the event of accidents or danger in so-called "blue-light" services, such as situational awareness in car accidents, mountain rescue and avalanche search. Here the focus is on flight speed. The second area concerns routine and scheduled operations, which today are often carried out by helicopter. The focus here is on range, the environmental aspects of electric aircraft versus helicopters, and the cost of such missions. These missions can include forest inventory reviews, avalanche hazard and lake condition assessments and storm damage affecting infrastructure and forest fires.
In these two areas, the conventional use of visually controlled drones is taken a step further, and drones are navigated automatically beyond the pilot's visual line of sight (BVLOS). EDIS test activities are ongoing and will conduct test flights in stages at the LARC test arena in Örnsköldsvik.
Declaration of intent on the fossil-free airport
Based on LARC, LFV and Vattenfall have initiated a research collaboration that will take further steps towards a fossil-free transport sector. The aim is to develop technologies for fossil-free airports that can serve as a model for other airports. This collaboration involves research and development for the transition to sustainable aviation and working together to develop a holistic solution for a fossil-free airport.
"The letter of intent with Vattenfall is an initiative in line with LFV's establishment of LARC in Örnsköldsvik, a new collaboration arena for industry, academia and society. This is carried out in the context of unmanned aerial vehicles, electric aviation, airspace issues and airport operations. Through close collaborations such as this one, we create opportunities to develop and validate new solutions for increased safety, cost-effectiveness and reduced climate impact," says Gunnar Olsson, LFV's acting head of research.
“Together with LFV, we want to find solutions and install charging infrastructure to make it possible to completely shift to electric vehicles - to, from and within the airport area as well as, in the long term, even electric aircraft. Other solutions include the installation of solar PV systems and battery storage, which provide quick access to power when the customer needs it," says Maria Lindberg, Head of Vattenfall Network Solutions in Sweden.
- Refuelling of vehicles (charging with electricity and/or battery exchange).
- Transport within the airport area (buses, cars, aircraft, tow trucks, tractors and other ground transport vehicles).
- Micro-production infrastructure such as photovoltaic systems.
- Uninterrupted power through, e.g., redundant systems and their ancillary services.
The research results will, among other things, enable regional flights at distances of 400 km and more. The next step is to explore export markets with associated structures and strategies for fossil-free airports.