The Nordic Drone Initiative for the transport of passengers and goods by drones


The Nordic countries are joining forces to drive the development of drone transport for both goods and passengers. The Nordic Drone Initiative (NDI) will pave the way for new sustainable business models. It can be about air taxis, autonomous courier services or new tourist concepts.

- We have very similar conditions in the Nordic region in terms of the weather and also in terms of infrastructure, market and regulations. Together we can be at the forefront of the development and make it possible for companies to develop sustainable transport solutions with drones, says Tor Skoglund from RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.

The goal for the NDI is to drive the development of sustainable drone-based transport services in the Nordic region. The Nordic countries have the ambition to be a leader in the development of sustainable business models in the digital age. Forecasts for drones with passengers and parcel deliveries indicate that the market is heading for a dramatic increase in the next ten years.

VTT will bring its expertise in technical solutions regarding the mitigation of icing, and improved battery technology and fuel cells to the project. These are essential elements when looking at the role of drones in the roadmap towards sustainable mobility in the Nordic region.
- VTT is excited about the NDI, which brings together key players developing sustainable mobility solutions involving drones, taking into account the geography, population and weather conditions in the Nordic countries, says Senior Scientist Robin Berglund from VTT.

The NDI has five overall objectives:

  • To identify and evaluate how drones can be used in the transport sector to provide the greatest benefit to society, business and the environment
  • To map the Nordic ecosystem for drones and the opportunities that this technology provides
  • To contribute to the development of drone technology for Nordic weather conditions
  • To propose the development of rule changes that enable drone transport and large-scale operations with vertical take-off and landing
  • To create a platform for continued research and innovation, and developed international cooperation

The NDI is led by RISE and consists of 16 partners from four Nordic countries, including RISE, Katla Aero, Flypulse, Kista Science City, Mainbase, LFV and Region Östergötland from Sweden; VTT, Bell Rock Advisors, Robots Expert and Business Tampere from Finland; NORCE, Nordic Edge, UAS Norway and Drone Nord from Norway; and Gate21 from Denmark. The project reference group includes Norwegian Avinor and Finnish ANS.

The project will also collaborate with the Nordic Network for Electric Aviation (NEA) to jointly plan for short- and long-haul transport with electric aircraft.

The project is co-financed by Nordic Innovation through their Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity program. The program aims to develop a more sustainable and connected transport system in the Nordic region and create opportunities for Nordic businesses.

Photo: Katla Aero

Timo Lind
Timo Lind
Principal Scientist
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