Italian vertiport testing bird strike monitoring system


UrbanV’s test vertiport on the outskirts of Rome is testing an AI-powered bird concentration monitoring system designed by The Edge Company.

The system, which is designed to to combat bird strikes at airports, was installed at the Test Vertiport UV-0 in Fiumicino, Rome last December. It captures images to map the local wildlife and address potential obstacles that may arise during air taxis’ flight phases, enabling UrbanV to monitor any risks associated with bird strikes and uncooperative obstacles in real time. Video data captured by cameras is then processed by AI into aggregated, verifiable data.

“The Edge Company has developed an automated bird monitoring system based on its extensive experience in the aerospace sector, combining cutting-edge technologies such as AI with natural sciences, revolutionising the approach to mitigating bird strikes,” said Fabio Masci, CEO of the Italian firm. “Following a period of acceleration in France in 2018, where Airbus engaged us in anticipation of the forthcoming launch of new urban mobility initiatives, we adapted our BCMS system to cater to this emerging market, turning it into a non-cooperative obstacle detection.

“With our system, which has no electromagnetic emissions and can be safely installed even in residential areas, we ensure constant situational awareness. This added layer of safety benefits everyone: passengers and citizens alike.”

UrbanV’s vertiport, aka UV-0, is located within a designated “regulatory sandbox”, an experimental zone carefully selected and approved by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority. This set-up allows the testing of complex interfaces between controlled airspace, similar to that of an international civil airport and the operational airspace essential for AAM.

Carlo Tursi, CEO of UrbanV said: “At UrbanV, our mission is to improve people’s lives by providing a fast, efficient, safe and environmentally friendly alternative for transporting people and goods over short distances by air. Our vision is to become a prominent global operator of vertiport networks, starting with Italy and France, where we are working with our founding partners to establish the first AAM routes on a global scale.