Applus+ promotes the use of drones to improve logistics in indoor industrial environments through the COLIBRI project


    Applus+ is participating in the COLIBRI project, which seeks to develop a collaborative platform that includes the use of autonomous drone navigation for indoor logistics controls. However, this brings certain challenges, as there are no regulations or legislation governing indoor drone operations.

    Applus+ is working to fill this regulatory gap by designing and implementing regulations for drone operations in industrial environments. The grant awarded to the COLIBRI project strengthens the company’s position in the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems, i.e. drones), U-Space and UTM sectors. U-Space refers to the concept of making European airspace a complex ecosystem in which all aircraft coexist, including drones. It is a set of services provided in a digital and automated manner that will enable the safe integration of drones and manned aircraft in Europe from 2023. UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) is a set of specific procedures, tools and services designed to promote the safe and efficient integration and coordination of UAS with other airspace users. Consequently, in the EU, U-Space is the UTM system creation project under the Single European Sky (SES). U-Space will be the ATM equivalent of manned aviation in European airspace.

    Davide Brandano, Head of Laboratory (UAS) in the Electrical & Electronic Department, explains the objectives and advantages of the project: COLIBRI aims to investigate a new collaborative logistics system, incorporating the new concept of collaborative, industrial, intelligent and connected drones that are also able to operate with working personnel within the same production environment. Applus+ is in charge of designing and implementing a validation framework for the project and developing new validation methodologies for small indoor drones with industrial applications.

    Developing an ex novo regulatory framework, a corresponding validation plan and a completely new test design will involve the collaboration of different technological areas of the company: cybersecurity, radio connectivity, electrical and machine safety, electric mobility, batteries…

    All flight tests are performed in our partner laboratory, ATLAS. Essential aspects of COLIBRI are the coordination with the other consortia, the management of project activities at Applus+ and compliance with the established deadlines.

    Being able to use drones indoors safely provides multiple advantages in terms of logistics and the operation of large industrial buildings:

    • It implements a searchable, inventoried and connected system capable of working collaboratively in the industrial environment both outdoors and indoors.
    • Reduces time and costs in the inventory and location process.
    • It enables a fleet of intelligent mobile devices to operate continuously, automatically and simultaneously without the need for operator input, even in large environments, as it is expandable and scalable.

    Applus+ has been appointed Notified Body for the new EU Regulation 945/2019 for access to the drone market in the EU, and we are the only entity that covers the full scope of this legislation, which aligns perfectly with the development of projects such as COLIBRI.

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