In times where cities struggle with traffic congestion, pollution and inefficiency and even in critical health emergency situations, drones play an increasingly important role in urban mobility. Dr. Johanna Tzanidaki, ERTICO’s Director of Innovation and Deployment was present at last week’s Amsterdam Drone Week to tell us why.

From blood samples, to organs, and even the delivery of pizzas, drones are already used in a variety of cases and with substantial advantages. In a study conducted by ERTICO Partner VVA, it is estimated that drones reduce the delivery time of biomedical samples from 45 to 15 minutes (almost a third of 42 min estimated for e-vans) and are cheaper than e-vans (EUR 1.92 compared to EUR 4.59).

But despite these advantages, there are still many obstacles that prevent drones from being in the skies above our cities. Dr. Johanna Tzanidaki, ERTICO’s Director of Innovation and Deployment said ‘Given the many uses of drones in supporting our society, it is important to find ways to properly integrate them not only into aviation but also in the entire mobility network. Drones are regarded as a type of vehicle. They can transport goods as well as eventually people and are part of what we call Urban Air Mobility, a very interesting part of mobility with more than 40 cities working on this currently’.

Throughout the session “Reinventing Mobility: integrated and shared,” Dr. Tzanidaki explained ERTICO’s vision for urban air mobility and how this can and should be integrated into the MaaS (Mobility as a Service) system. ‘ERTICO sees great potential in this type of transport, and as one of the modes in multi-modal mobility, its contribution to MaaS schemes is undoubtable’ said Dr. Tzanidaki.

The Drones-MaaS combination is perceived in a positive way by industry, especially when considered in the context of a broader vision of deploying safe, sustainable and green mobility solutions. As the use of drones in mobility is experiencing the same need for industry and public sector alignment as automated cars do in terms of, among others, urban planning but also in terms of safety agreed requirements, ERTICO’s intention is to continue to advocate for drones to be seen as an integral part of multi-modal mobility and will support the ERTICO members’ push for a policy on urban air mobility within the entire mobility framework. At European level, we refer to this as CCAM, Connected, cooperative automated mobility, which more than certainly includes drones.