The realisation of ‘Unmanned Valley’ Valkenburg is crucial for the valorisation of new technologies. That is the message delivered by professor Hester Bijl from Delft University of Technology at the InnovationQuarter year event, which found place at the former airport in Katwijk.
Together with Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje, Bijl presented a bidbook to transform Valkenburg into a testing ground for drones and unmanned vehicles. Pieter-Christiaan is the initiator of Unmanned Valley.
“Unmanned Valley Valkenburg is an essential part of our technology roadmap”, said Bijl, who leads the Department of Aerodynamics. “At the moment, it is not possible to test the future’s technology outdoors due to legal prohibitions. But students, researchers, engineers, start-ups and professors must be able to validate their theories.”
“Together with the industry we want to develop and test new technologies such as sense and avoid, swarming and unmanned air traffic in a safe way in real environments.” It is a ‘crucial step’ in the commercialisation of technology, Bijl pointed out. Besides, it will give the region and the Netherlands an economic boost.
With MAVLab, Delft University of Technology has been in the lead for over ten years when it comes to drones and unmanned systems. “This region has everything required to play an international leading role. RoboValley accelerates this by bringing the government, research and industry together on robotics. Together with InnovationQuarter they close ranks to realise these ambitions.”
The transformation of the former airport gives us a chance to show why the Netherlands belongs in the top five innovative countries worldwide, concluded Bijl. “Our future is unmanned. So let’s make sure that we develop that technology here!”
The bidbook was presented to the province of South-Holland and the municipality of Katwijk. “I am happy that we now have a concrete plan for the development of Unmanned Valley Valkenburg”, said alderman Klaas-Jan van der Bent from Katwijk in a reaction. “I will read the book with interest and I would like to start working on the development.”
The bidbook was developed by RoboValley’s Jeroen Engelkes (programme manager Unmanned Valley) and Lucas van Oostrum (co-founder Delft Aerial Robotics), with the cooperation of InnovationQuarter. The proposal is supported by the consortium Unmanned Valley Valkenburg, which consists of RoboValley, Delft University of Technology, ATMOS UAV, Aerialtronics, Ampyx Power, The Hague Security Delta, Leiden Centre of Data Science and other partners.Copyright Daniel Verkijk