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As the number of unmanned aerial vehicles delivering goods and services expands, those drones will need highways in the sky to ensure their safe and efficient transit from one point to the other.

The city of Valencia in Spain is preparing to create a “drone highway” for services such as medicine delivery, and eventually open those up to human transport like air taxis. Officials in the city of Valencia are working to create the drone highway with the Universitat Politècnica de Valencia. 

Building the digital infrastructure to coordinate the data flow – and the drone traffic they represent – will be one of the biggest tasks in creating the new highway. Nevertheless, officials predict that once those navigational coordinating systems are in place, and services up and running, the growth in drone traffic for deliveries and other transportation will rival those of cars in earlier decades.

The new drone highway announced in November reportedly got the all-clear after the company that manages Spanish airspace, Enaire, signed a protocol with organizers outlining the corridor’s integration into the national grid. 

That operational framework covers traditional aircraft, drones, and other urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles. For that reason, initially planned operations like medical and goods deliveries will also be extended to those transporting human passengers when those come into service without a complete regulatory airspace review, according to

The region has already built drone highways and is currently qualifying secondary roads or corridors. Once in place, these will allow the normalization of drone flights around the community, allowing for a variety of uses. 

Preparations are expected to be finished and ready for use between 2023 and 2025.

All drones operating in Spain will be required to transmit their flight positions and paths to the systems eventually selected to manage airspace by January 2023. 

Watch the panel discussion on autonomous systems at the urban sphere – the experience in Israel and in the world – at INNOTECH 2021 conference: