First drone and aerospace corporations transfer into Unmanned Valley – Drones Information


Unmanned Valley – the field laboratory for sensor-based technologies at the former Valkenburg naval base in Katwijk, Netherlands – welcomes the first companies, all of which are active in the aerospace, drones and sensors sectors. This is an important step in developing a full-fledged ecosystem for drones and other sensor-based innovations and further strengthens the aerospace sector in the Netherlands.

Aerialtronics, Deck180, Drone Flight Company, the Dutch Drone Academy, Elkay International (Europe) and Marshall Netherlands are the first companies to move in. Within a few months, Atmos, Drone Light Labs and will also move (parts of) their field laboratory activities, which provide companies and knowledge institutes with indoor and outdoor facilities for developing, testing and implementing new sensor-based solutions.

The move of these companies marks the very successful 3000 m² renovation of the workshop of the former naval airfield “Building 356”, which is now almost fully let. In a next phase, the central government’s real estate agency (“Rijksvastgoedbedrijf”) is expected to renovate a further 1700 m² space for a mixture of start-ups and scale-ups, mature companies and knowledge institutions.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in testing activity over the past few months, but with these first companies moving, Unmanned Valley really comes alive,” said Theo de Vries, program manager at Unmanned Valley. “Drones often only make headlines as a threat to air traffic or as a pizza delivery service. These companies show that things are different in reality and that the economic and social potential for the Netherlands can be enormous. “

De Vries speaks highly of the central government’s real estate agency: “During the COVID-19 crisis, the agency kept pace with the renovation and renovation work. It has now become a collaboration, cross-fertilization, and innovation hotspot that has inspired startups, scale-ups, and others to such an extent that we rented around 90% of all available units well before the official completion date in July. The next phase can now be developed much earlier than expected. “

“Unmanned Valley has the potential to develop into an international hotspot for unmanned and sensor-related activities. Innovative companies are looking for a well-developed ecosystem, not just a suitable office location. They want access to the right networks, technologies and talents, ”says Rinke Zonneveld, director of the regional business development agency InnovationQuarter. “The Netherlands, and in particular the Rotterdam-The Hague area, have an excellent reputation in the global aerospace industry. The aviation, space and drone sectors in our region are closely linked, and all relevant actors in education, research and trade work actively together in this highly developed metropolitan area. “

In addition to the Dutch start-ups and scale-ups that have moved to Unmanned Valley, the location also appears to be internationally attractive. Several foreign companies have relocated their activities to Katwijk, a coastal town 16 kilometers north of The Hague.

The companies that are the first to settle in the unmanned valley
• • Aerialtronics DV, part of the French company Drone Volt since 2017, develops drones and intelligent cameras for numerous applications; for measuring and supporting the fire brigade with the inspection of wind turbines and high-voltage lines. Recently, Aerialtronics has also developed software that can use existing networks of IP cameras to check whether people are wearing face masks.
• • Atmos, was founded in 2013 and has developed a drone that combines the flexibility of a helicopter with the speed and range of an airplane. As a result, it takes little space to take off and land vertically. However, the drone can also travel long distances efficiently. These properties are essential for mapping larger areas. The company raised funds from Disruptive Technology Ventures in 2018 and 2020.
• • Deck180 has been developing solutions since 2017 with which several drones can work autonomously at the same time in industrial and public environments.
• • Drone airline is the market leader in the use of drones for the business market and supports companies in integrating drones into their business activities. The company’s training sector, Drone flight academy, is recognized and developed by the Dutch government as a flight school and offers courses, training courses and workshops aimed at safe and responsible flying with drones.
• • Drone Light LabsThe company, founded in 2017, produces, among other things, the world-famous performance art installation Franchise Freedom for Studio Drift. The artwork consists of an autonomously flying swarm of hundreds of drones using a specially developed algorithm based on the flight behavior of starlings. One of the essential parts of the work of art: “swarm intelligence”.
• • Dutch drone academy was the first drone school in the Netherlands (2013) and is currently the market leader in drone training (RTF-recognized), active as a European drone operator (ROC +, ROC-L, certificate class 2 BE) and publisher of drone textbooks and digital learning environments for professionals, other drone schools and vocational secondary education.
• • Elkay International (Europe) exports electronic components and systems from Europe to companies in the Indian telecommunications, defense, aerospace and aerospace industries.
• • is a start-up founded in 2018 that is developing an autonomously operating “Drone in a Box” system. The system is intended to be used in a variety of applications, e.g. B. for monitoring industrial plants, for securing industrial areas and for providing in emergency situations.
• • Marshall Netherlands is part of the Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group (Cambridge, UK) – one of the largest independent technology companies in Europe. Among other things, the company specializes in the development, production and maintenance of defense systems as well as the conversion, modification and maintenance of military and civil aircraft. Marshall has been supporting the Royal Netherlands Air Force for more than 20 years and at the end of 2018 the company received an order to supply and maintain 1,400 protective systems for the Dutch armed forces.

Fast growing industry
In many sectors, drones and related technologies are already ensuring that work can be done faster, better, safer and more efficiently. Due to the further development and integration of robotization, artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and the Internet of Things, the number of useful applications is growing rapidly.

Market analysts at Drone Industry Insights expect the global drone market to grow to $ 42.8 billion by 2025. This is almost double its current size in 2020 ($ 22.5 billion). The European market is also almost doubling; from $ 5.19 billion to $ 9.86 billion by 2025.

Unmanned Valley is an initiative of the Technical University of Delft and the municipality of Katwijk, made possible by the Dutch central and regional government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the EU and will develop into a breeding ground for high-tech activities.

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