A first: Twente rally uses drones to increase the safety of a sports event

Pilot anticipates new laws and regulations


A first for Twente: during the Conrad Twente Rally on 19 and 20 October a drone will be deployed at three locations. A number of drone flights will take place in the dark. This is a pilot in which the municipalities of Enschede and Hengelo, together with the Twente Rally Foundation, are investigating whether and how drones can be used to increase safety in and around the track. Drones have never been used for this purpose on such a large scale, including night flights, during a sports event.

In short

  • Twente Rally sports event
  • Drones are used to increase event safety
  • Twente uses innovative technologies for smart solutions


Want to read more about smart solutions from Twente that contribute to more sustainable communities? Go to: twente.com/sustainable-communities.

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Conrad Twente Rally

Will you join this weekend? The Twente Rally is the place to be for car enthusiasts. Roaring engines, super-fast cars, vintage cars and also shiny, new cars. This yearly event offers something for everyone. Around 30.000 spectators are expected to visit the 300-kilometre long track in Boekelo and het Rutbeek. To guarantee safety on this long route, the organisation has come up with something new ...

Drones for more safety

The pilot is intended to help the municipalities and the Twente Rally Foundation to get a better overview of and during risky situations. The drones are used for crowd management, monitoring traffic flows and timely detecting large game.


A drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera will fly around the track on Saturday evening. The night vision cameras are “an extra pair of eyes in the dark” that can be used to view a much wider range of situations than the human eye is capable of.


The drone keeps drivers safe by signalling large game in the vicinity of the track in time. The behaviour of large game is then monitored to see how they respond to approaching rally cars and their sounds and lights. If there are indications that game is present on the track or heading towards it, the race management is notified. The race management is in direct contact with the rally drivers and can inform them.


Unsafe situations for spectators can be recognised faster and more precise, for example, because locations can be included. In this way, the race management and safety coordinators of the event can inform the race officials with better information.


In addition, the organisation wants to analyse the behaviour of the public and wildlife when rally cars approach. The results serve as input for the organising team of the following year. Based on the results, the track may be adjusted, or extra safety measures may be taken.


On Sunday afternoon, drones equipped with a regular camera will monitor the traffic flows around the closed roads in Hengelo.

Flying at night

The organisation works with Float360 and Robor Electronics from the Space53 drone cluster to safely execute the pilot in accordance with current laws and regulations. In anticipation of the laws and regulations, flying in the dark is only allowed with a permit from the “Inspectie van Leefomgeving en Transport” (ILT). To obtain a temporary exemption to this law, Float360 has submitted an extensive procedure and risk analysis, in which they prove that the pilot can be carried out safely. As an additional risk-reducing measure, the participating parties followed a ‘night flying workshop’ at the Twente Fire Department. The drone has special navigation lighting to increase visibility. For example, port and starboard lights and a white light on top and at the rear. 

Deploying drones at events

Bert Beverdam, safety implementation director at the municipality of Enschede: “The drone images are valuable for increasing the safety of the Conrad Twente Rally. In the future, they may be valuable of other events as well. Thousands of spectators are scattered along the route, and dozens of roads have been closed. Most of the time, this goes well, but by getting notified of unsafe situations in time, the organisation can adequately intervene before it is too late. Besides, if something does go wrong, the drones can provide vital information that is necessary in such a moment to us and emergency services. If the pilot is successful, we want to extend it to other events.


Want to read more about sports events in Twente that are used as testing grounds for innovative technologies? Click here.

Date: 18 October 2019 |

Source of tekst: Space53 |

Author: Twente.com