Drone centre near Odense attracts students and big players like Boeing

Great potential for job creation and future economic growth is projected for the unmanned aircraft systems development

March 19th, 2015 12:16 pm| by admin

Denmark's test centre for unmanned airborne systems (UAS), located at the HC Andersen airport north of Odense, is starting to train drone drivers, issuing them with a 'drone licence' for commercial use.

The UAS test centre has been attracting enormous interest from large high-tech companies, visionary entrepreneurs and innovative manufacturers, as well as the University of Southern Denmark (SDU).

Highly popular among SDU students
SDU has been sending students to learn how to operate the remotely-piloted aircraft vehicles, also known as drones, and it is in the process of building its own drone laboratory.

Last month, the university offered its first elective course about drones, and it was fully-booked within a week. 

According to the European Commission, the research and construction of unmanned airborne systems will in Europe create 150,000 jobs by 2050.

Demo flights open to public
Meanwhile, Boeing will perform Denmark's first flights using an unmanned aircraft beyond the visual line of sight during the Nordic UAS Event on May 28, using its ScanEagle vehicles.

The demo flights are part of a broader co-operation between Boeing and the HCA Airport aiming to further develop the UAS test centre as a testing, training and development hub. 

"We have the airspace and infrastructure to be a leader in testing and training throughout the international UAS community, and our work with Boeing is critical to showcasing what the future may hold for Denmark in unmanned systems,” Christian Berg, the chief executive officer of HCA Airport, noted.

The Nordic UAS event is open to the general public, but limited tickets are available and visitors have to register online.

Boeing brings in new job opportunities
"The demonstrations are a breakthrough for positioning the test centre and our Danish industry partners at the forefront of the European commercial UAS market,” said Debbie Rub, a Boeing vice president and general manager. 

Boeing was among the first major international airspace and defence companies to support unmanned technology development. 

The ScanEagle is a low-cost, long-endurance, autonomous UAV used by the US Navy and customers around the world for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. 

A recent study released by DAMVAD, a Danish economic consultancy, shows more than 10,000 jobs could be created through Denmark's collaboration with Boeing, adding 6 billion kroner to the country’s GDP over 20 years.