Qanbridge Technology, The Netherlands
(on behalf of Dutch Drone Platform)
Tjerk Gorter (MSc) finished his studies of Industrial Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology in 1985. He worked 7 years for Philips Electronics in business strategy, product development and European pre-competitive research cooperation. Ever since, the triangle of strategy – innovation – technology, industrial cooperation and business development are the key components of professional passion. In 1999 Tjerk became CTO of one of a leading dairy firm, Friesland Foods. Through his membership of several national technology committees, he became architect and builder of four of the national research programmes combining the technology power of industry leaders, universities and contract research institutes. In 2005 he decided to fully dedicate his attention to building own high-tech companies, the management of industrial co-operative innovation programmes and strategy development for selected companies. To this end, he founded Qanbridge. Since 2015 Tjerk is involved in setting up pathways for accelerated development of RPAS applications for private and public organisations alike. He is chairman of the Dutch Drone Platform (DDP), the co-operation between the Dutch test ranges. The DDP serves also as an integrating platform to structure and accelerate co-operation between the many stakeholders involved in RPAS.
In 2015, drone developments started at Twente Airport, a former military airbase in the East of The Netherlands. Drone entrepreneurs, first responders, the Twente Safety Campus, located at the airport, high-tech companies, universities started with the development of a test range and real-life simulation environment. No surprise Twente was not the only region with RPAS initiatives. At least four other airfields announced they wanted to be the nr 1 RPAS test range in The Netherlands. With the growing interest of the national government, each of the test ranges started their own lobby to conquer the preference of the government and other stakeholders. A small team decided this was not the way. They organized a meeting with the representatives of all test ranges to share two insights. The first insights was that this national competition was leading nowhere. The second insight was that safety is a joint interest of all parties involved and that therefore industrial, commercial and governmental stakeholders should actively build a safety management system. A risk-based system that integrates technology, processes and regulations into safe RPAS operations. Two months later the Dutch Drone Platform (DDP) was born, the platform for national cooperation between test ranges, with participation of regulatory organisations and the drone industry. First topic for the cooperation is the shared and urgent need for rapidly creating sufficient degrees of freedom for innovation by having available a realistic and uniform set of rules and regulations across all Dutch test ranges. Here the new co-operation was put to good use: to accelerate the above, it was decided that the Twente Airport ROC would serve as a blue print for the other test ranges and the efforts of Twente would be shared. In the meantime, drone users, manufacturers, test ranges and regulators started working on the second building block, a shared 2-year roadmap to create full transparency and alignment of activities.