Unmanned Valley is an initiative of Delft University of Technology and the municipality of Katwijk, a coastal town 16 kilometers north of The Hague in the Netherlands, and has been made possible by a contribution from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Since the establishment of the Unmanned Valley foundation in March 2018, great strides have been made and a solid foundation has been laid for the further development of the field lab.
“Now that the new accommodation is available and the first companies are moving into the field lab, a new phase is beginning and a different dynamic is emerging,” says Werner Haan, director of Unmanned Valley. “There is now more room to start innovative projects, attract companies and build up the community that will help us achieve our ambition: to make Unmanned Valley a hotspot for sensor-based activities. Jos is someone who can make the connection with key sectors such as aerospace, materials science and robotics.”
“With the increasing sophistication of drone and related technologies, the focus on developing innovative applications is increasing. There are opportunities in numerous areas,” adds Van den Boom. “To fully exploit the economic and societal potential, it is important that the various players – from developers to end users – work together more and ensure cross-fertilisation. I am keen to contribute to this and accordingly look forward to working with Werner, Unmanned Valley staff and all the innovative parties in and around the ecosystem.”
Van den Boom has been an employer of Delft University of Technology since 2002. In various roles he has helped setting up incubators, field labs and other tech transfer-related initiatives such as YES! Delft, RoboValley, SAM|XL and Aerospace Innovation Hub.
In recent years the Dutch Central Government Real Estate Agency (‘Rijksvastgoedbedrijf’) has sustainably renovated the 6,000 square metre former aircraft workshop at the former naval air base and transformed it into an inspirational working environment for companies in the field of unmanned technology, autonomous systems and sensors. This month the first companies will move into Unmanned Valley.