The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, is increasing rapidly. The goal of the multidisciplinary FUAVE research consortium is to establish a new research, development, and innovation partnership network to support the development of Finnish knowledge base and business related to the unmanned aviation of the future and its applications.

‘Our vision is that controlled test areas form the basis of the sustainable development of unmanned aviation and its applications. These test areas should act as Living Lab environments in urban or rural areas, providing a one-stop-shop for unmanned aviation research, business and applications,’ says Research Professor Eija Honkavaara, director of the consortium, from the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) of the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS).

The Finnish UAV ecosystem, or the FUAVE consortium, is building a sustainable base for the development and use of test areas. These test areas can then be used as platforms for the development of safe and weatherproof UAVs and sensors. They also enable the development of scaled aviation solutions for urban and rural areas. As the number of drones and other UAVs is only going to increase, safe traffic solutions must be built for them.

‘The project’s ambitious goal is to develop operations by launching a test area network covering the whole of Finland. The network includes Linnanmaa in Oulu, Jätkäsaari in Helsinki, Helsinki-East Aerodrome in Pyhtää, OuluZone, Kemijärvi and the Sjökulla test field in Kirkkonummi,’ says Project Manager Kimmo Paajanen from Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Paajanen is responsible for the development of test area operations in urban areas in the project.

Joint development between stakeholders

FUAVE is developing the ecosystem and operating models around the test areas. Concrete actions include networking and joint development between stakeholders, the development of operating principles for test areas in urban and sparsely populated areas, and demonstrations of top technology and commercial applications in the test areas.

‘More than 20 companies and organisations have given their commitment to the project, and the ecosystem already includes more than 100 partners through various networks. Together with our partners, our goal is to build and innovate new accomplishments for drone operations that have an impact on Finland as a whole,’ says Hannu Karvonen, Senior Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, who is responsible for stakeholder activities in the project.

Partners of the FUAVE consortium include, for example, 6G Flagship, FCAI and UNITE, scientific spearheads of the Academy of Finland.

The consortium strengthens the societal impact of research

FUAVE received funding of roughly EUR 1.7 million from the Academy of Finland. The project will be carried out between 2020 and 2022. Other members of the FGI-led research consortium are VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Oulu University, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences.

The project’s funding is part of the Academy of Finland’s special funding, which supports research-based partnership networks where universities and public research institutions build networks with businesses to strengthen the societal impact of high-quality research.

More information

Research Professor Eija Honkavaara, FGI, +358 29 531 4716,

Senior Scientist Hannu Karvonen, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, +358 40 0216 396,

Research Manager Tuomo Hänninen, University of Oulu, +358 50 575 8340,

Project Manager Kimmo Paajanen, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, +358 40 661 2871

Director of Research Unit Tomi Oravasaari, Xamk – South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, +358 44 702 8289,