HHLA Sky and LSBG enter into Innovation Partnership

Innovation Partnership

To ensure that drone flights improve Hamburg's infrastructure and facility management in the future, the city's State Agency for Roads, Bridges and Waterways (LSBG) and HHLA Sky are entering into an innovation partnership. Its goal is to use aerial data to facilitate the maintenance, planning and development of bridges, buildings, dikes and roads. Anjes Tjarks, Senator for Transport and Mobility Change in Hamburg, sees huge potential in the intelligent integration of drones for the planning and development of the city’s infrastructure.

“Hamburg is a pioneer in the use of digital, innovative solutions in the transport sector. The intelligent integration of drones holds significant potential."
Anjes Tjarks, Senator for Transport and Mobility Change in Hamburg

Drones for Construction Monitoring and Infrastructure Inspections

The use of drones in construction monitoring, the inspection of urban infrastructure or as part of an integrated intelligent infrastructure management system holds great potential for the City of Hamburg: in the future, drones will help inspect and provide digital images of the condition of urban structures and buildings as well as public roads from the air. They can also be used for surveying and monitoring dikes as well as mapping and planning roads.

Drone flights are also used for monitoring and documenting construction projects. The data collected allows a comparison of the actual vs. target situation of the construction site. This helps to identify potential effects on the traffic flow and to take countermeasures if necessary. The information collected represents an important planning basis and is an elementary component of Hamburg's ITS strategy.

These findings can be generated more quickly in the future with mobile drones and their various sensors and with significantly less additional equipment.

Aerial image, taken from an LSGB drone over a construction site at the busy intersection Hohenfelder Bucht, Hamburg.
Cost-efficiently and soon real-time: Infrastructure image, taken from an LSBG drone over a construction site at the busy intersection Hohenfelder Bucht, Hamburg.

Automated Aerial Data

In order to leverage drone potential quickly and efficiently, LSBG has entered into an innovation partnership with HHLA Sky. The purpose of this partnership is to promote close cooperation and active knowledge transfer between LSBG and HHLA Sky in a highly innovative, digital field. By working together, they intend to implement the use of (partially) automated drones efficiently and safely in Hamburg.

In this context, the partners are planning to further develop the applied drone hardware and software. The aim is to carry out (partially) automated drone flights safely and efficiently in an end-to-end process, from authorization to planning to the provision of evaluated data.

Anjes Tjarks, Hamburg Senator for Transport and Mobility Change:

“Hamburg is a pioneer in the use of digital, innovative solutions in the transport sector. The intelligent integration of drones holds significant potential, especially for a city like Hamburg. For example, they can help to efficiently and cost-effectively provide real-time images of the condition of our road infrastructure, bridges and buildings from the air, while also capturing areas that are difficult to access. This contributes to the safety and performance of the infrastructure. Their images and digital data can even capture construction progress and help to improve the planning and coordination of construction sites. This saves effort, cost and time and reduces congestion on existing traffic flows. I am pleased that HHLA Sky and LSBG have teamed up to advance innovative solutions such as the use of semi-automated drones to further improve the city's infrastructure management.”

Dr. Stefan Klotz, Managing Director State Agency for Roads, Bridges and Waterways (LSBG):

“LSBG is an active and vital partner in the Urban Air Mobility network oft the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. We support and help structure the application of drones and are driving their legal implementation forward. We are very pleased about the innovation partnership with HHLA Sky. We have already benefited greatly from our knowledge exchange and experience in recent months. For example, HHLA Sky trained four of our colleagues as drone pilots. The innovation partnership officially established today is important for combining the know-how of business and public administration - in this case a state operation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg - and tapping synergies. By using drones, we can most definitely not only simplify and increase the efficiency of our planning, but also of the maintenance and expansion of the city's infrastructure.”

Matthias Gronstedt, Managing Director HHLA Sky:

“HHLA Sky is a company that develops innovative technologies in the drones and robotics industry. The partnership with LSBG means a leap into the future of drone applications for us and Hamburg, along with the resulting benefits for sustainability and efficiency in infrastructure. Together, we want to create added value for the future of the city of Hamburg through the combination of new processes and the right technology.”

HHLA Sky, a specialist in the industrial use of automated drones and robotics, trained four LSBG digitalization department employees as drone pilots last year. In addition to fundamental knowledge in theory and (licensing) law, the training also included practical training on mini and industrial drones. With the acquisition of the A2 remote pilot certificate, the so-called large EU drone license, LSBG drone pilots also fulfil all legal requirements for flying drones in Hamburg.

Under the innovation partnership, from now on drone pilots will be trained at LSBG and in the coming months drone flights will gradually be deployed as part of infrastructure management. The first drone images have already been obtained and evaluated during the implementation of infrastructure measures such as the installation of the bicycle lane on the Alster and the current construction measures at Ehestorfer Heuweg in Hamburg-Harburg and the busy intersection Hohenfelder Bucht close to the city center.