First assessment of the operational potential of this type of delivery on a regional scale

An approach aiming to achieve an operational goal in the very short term


Le Bourget, 17 June 2019 – Airbus and the Hauts-de-France region today signed a framework partnership agreement to assess the economic development potential of air deliveries on a regional scale. This agreement was signed in the presence of Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France region, Antoine Bouvier, Head of Strategy at Airbus, Alain Storck, President of the Hauts-de-France regional innovation and development agency, Jana Rosenmann, Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems at Airbus, David Taieb, President of the e-valley project, and Nicolas Askamp, CEO of Survey Copter.


The Hauts-de-France region, through Hauts-de-France Innovation Development (HDFID), and Airbus Defence and Space, via its specialised subsidiary Survey Copter, already well known for its models of commercial drones certified for military use, are jointly conducting a feasibility study of this use within the framework of European regulations.


The Hauts-de-France region aims to become Europe’s logistics hub. In this context, the regional authorities are particularly supporting the creation of the ‘e-valley’ park, a logistics park dedicated to new e-commerce services, on the site of the former Cambrai airbase. For this activity, air delivery is obviously an innovative development focus.


This operational study, involving stakeholders from the region’s economic and academic ecosystem of logistics and retail activities, is therefore launched for six months to identify the needs of local economic operators as well as the technical concepts and solutions required to meet them, while taking stock of current and expected future regulations.


The shared ambition is to foster the deployment of new economic models in the Hauts-de-France region, based on the innovative use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), particularly to support disruptive changes in the supply chain dedicated both to industrial activities and distribution.


By studying what the future will hold for UAVs in Hauts-de-France, the region hopes to give companies the means to innovate in their services, expand their logistics activities and create new jobs as a result.


After spending several years developing autonomous air transport, this agreement is an opportunity for Airbus to boost its state-of-the-art presence in the market for professional civil UAVs certified for industrial use and to let French authorities benefit from the experience gained with its many demonstrators, and in particular in in coordination with the French civil aviation authority DGAC. DGAC plays a key role in the simultaneous and controlled development of economic, regulatory and technological frameworks and has, together with France’s civil UAV council, boosted powerful market dynamics since 2015.


Airbus subsidiary Survey Copter, the service provider selected by HDFID to conduct the ‘Drones in Hauts-de-France Experimentation’, will be providing its national and international know-how as a leading player in the field of mini-UAV systems. Through this experience, Survey Copter has gained extensive knowledge of the design of these systems and has full command of the safety of operations relating to the use of these technologies.


By participating in this feasibility study, Survey Copter is looking to increase its experience with UAV solutions used in urban or semi-urban environments and thus pave the way for the emergence of new urban mobility solutions.


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About Airbus

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2018 it generated revenues of € 64 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.


About the Hauts-de-France region

The Hauts-de-France region is the youngest in France, with a third of its six million inhabitants being under the age of 25 years. Marked by a very strong industrial heritage, its economy is multi-faceted: Hauts-de-France is France’s leading agricultural region; it is the driver of the French Tech ecosystem; it attracts more foreign investors than any other region in France; and it is a craft industry region. Employment is the top priority: regional authorities have introduced several schemes to assist job-seekers in their job searches, but also to help the working population as well as businesses struggling to find employee profiles suited to their needs. The region believes in the industry of the future and innovation: it is France’s number one rail region; is home to a number of leading industrial firms; and is the birthplace of several economic drivers and the Third Industrial Revolution.


About Survey Copter

An expert in mini-UAVs since 1996, Survey Copter has been part of Airbus’s tactical mini-UAV division since 2011. Survey Copter offers a wide range of products ideally adapted to perform ISR missions, for both military and commercial purposes. Survey Copter therefore has a global skill set, ranging from the development of airborne platform systems to ground stations, autopilots, data transmissions, encryption, EO/IR payloads, Remote Video Terminals (RVT), and a range of specific related services, including spare parts, training and in-service logistics support.

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Alain Dupiech

External Communications - Airbus Defence