Start-up dreams of first drone port in central Europe
Plans are afoot for the first ever drone helipad in central Europe – and a logistics start up want to be the first to deliver the drone landing port in the region.
3L Robotics are a four-year old logistics start-up with the big dream of finally establishing a landing platform for delivery drones, with the first structure set to be installed in the south eastern Czech Republic city of Brno.
The actual site will be at the new premium office buildings Complex, Vlněna, situated on a former brownfield in Brno, where the drone landing pad will accept parcels delivered by autonomous drones. The helipad will be situated on the roof of office building being built by developer and industrial real estate developer and manager CTP as a part of the multifunctional office building complex.
And there is no way to sugar-coat it; this is really such a big dream, because as of now, drone flights beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight (BVLOS) – which are crucial for the success of every drone delivery operation – are not yet allowed in the country.
The Czech Republic is part of the European Union though; having joined in 2004, exactly at the time when the EU’s Single European Sky initiative took off. And one of the areas that the European Air Safety Association (EASA) are researching on is the integration of drone technology in the lower skies.
The current regulatory environment an issue that 3L Robotics acknowledges, but are seemingly not perturbed by: the company want the structures to be there for when the laws finally catch up to the technology.
“A drone helipad works like a charger for electric cars,” explained Luboš Lněnička, founder of 3L Robotics.
“In order to make it possible for drones to transport shipments, first of all, it is necessary to create the infrastructure, that is, delivery points among which the shipments will be transported,”
“This helipad will be the first one in this network,”
It remains to be seen whether delivery drones will be flying in the Czech Republic by the middle of 2024, which is the time that 3L have in frame for completion of the project.
3L Robotics is a company which has been developing
Lněnička explained further: “In reality, delivering shipments with drones will be very simple. Based on GPS coordinates, the drone with a shipment will arrive above the roof of the building, then it will find the helipad and make a connection.
“After that, the helipad will verify whether the shipment is the right one, and it will lead the drone to landing. Finally, the shipment will be transported to a part of the building which is accessible for the staff or an autonomous vehicle assigned for the delivery,”
The pad will handle parcels coming in boxes that measure anything up to 40x40x40 centimetres and weighing less than three kilograms,
Having already made an appearance at the Drone Expo in the USA in September last year, 3L Robotics was founded in 2019 and develops solutions for automated receiving systems from delivery service providers.