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Scope of the project

SPADE is a project funded by the European Union within the Horizon Europe programme, with 21 partners from 10 European countries.

This project started on September 2022 and will last 4 years. It is coordinated by the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) in Greece.

The strategic objective of SPADE project is to develop an intelligent ecosystem to address the multiple purposes concept in the light of deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs alias drones) to promote sustainable digital services for the benefit of a large scope of end users in sectors of crop production, forestry, and livestock. This includes individual UAV usability, UAV type applicability (e.g., swarm, collaborative, autonomous, tethered), UAV governance models availability and UAV-generated data trustworthiness. Multi-purposes will be further determined in the sensing dataspace reusability based on trained Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) models. These models will enable sustainability and resilience of the overall life cycle of developing, setting up, offering, providing, testing, validating, refining as well as enhancing digital transformations and “innovation building” services in agriculture. Pilot prototypes will contribute toward greater goals, such as the reduction of deforestation, precision farming and animal welfare.

3 Pilots Prototypes, one per domain (i.e., forestry, cropping and livestock farming), deploying 9 Test Cases combined with 2 Open Calls for up to 12 complementary small projects will contribute toward the goals of sustainable forestry and farming.


Specific Objectives

Learning and engaging others in learning about the various impacts and risks of drones as multi-purpose vehicles on the "Farm-to-fork" ecosystems

Develop cost-effective drones and sensors for multipurpose applications

Develop an open-source, open-access ecosystem which allows the collection, processing and distribution of data from and to multiple stakeholders

Pilot deployment of the SPADE ecosystem in 3 pilots and further applications through an open call for optimally integrating its components and optimizing its use

Making the innovation known, used, socially robust and anchored for long term in agriculture and forestry


Pilots description

SPADE project involves the implementation of three pilots.

The first one is an open-field case study integration that will be arranged in Spain by under the leadership of  Anysolution. This case study consists mainly of potato crops use case and a terraced crops use case. All three categories of drones will be deployed with the largest drone dedicated to spraying applications.

The second pilot is a forestry case study integration led by NIBIO In Southern Norway. There will be 3 different tests conducted: a drone swarm for forest inventory, a tethered drone for operational support of a wheeled forest harvester, and a heavy-lift drone for implementing forest operations.

Live-stock case study integration in Greece, led by NST is the third project pilot. It aims to improve and promote sheep breeding via grazing and health monitoring on the Greek island of Lesvos by utilizing multi-purpose UAVs in different configurations and in synchrony with SPADE platform digital twin services. This Pilot will deliver a complete TRL5 developed prototype and will conduct proof-of-concept testing of drone models and will field-test drones under operational conditions, and demonstrate AI, IOT & Cloudification solutions.

All the pilots are set at month 24 of the project and optimization activities will run till the end of the project.

Project structure


Drones as multi-purpose vehicle impact on the “Farm-to-fork” ecosystems

This WP aims to assess the agricultural ecosystems with transformative processes to spatial technologies through Stock-take innovation in the use of drones as multi-purpose vehicles, develop the technical requirements of the SPADE concept development, assess and mitigate risks, investigate governance links both from the drones and agriculture/forestry perspective, integrate a horizontal standardization component, evaluate the SPADE ecosystem from a market, socio-economic, environmental (including LCA) and technical perspectives, implement a horizontal gender mainstreaming component.




Physical System: Drones and sensors development for multipurpose applications

This WP aims to develop the physical component of the SPADE ecosystem which includesthe drones and the sensors that the drones are equipped with. The WP will define the core drone system concept and the system architecture based on the needs of various project applications. The following system-level objectives are foreseen: – To reuse system components across different use cases. – To provide seamless interfaces for running high-level algorithms. – To define test scenarios to test and validate the drone design and sensors.




Cyber System: SPADE platform development

WP3 develops the cyber component of the SPADE ecosystem. The platform, which is at the core ofSPADE will integrate a digital twin, AI for physical asset modelling in the digital twin representation, APIs for importing and exporting data as well as provisions for trustworthiness frameworks and cybersecurity considerations.




Pilot multi-purpose applications deployment and integration

WP4 work is being deployed in three axes; the first one is concerned with the implementation of the 3 pilots, the second one with the implementation of the open call and related funded use cases and the final one with the integration and optimization of the SPADE concept.




Outreach and Sustainability

This WP aims to design and implement a dissemination, communication and exploitation strategy; ensure that the results of the project are exploited and have a lasting, relevant contribution to technology standards (drones, ontologies, etc.) in the European Research Ecosystem; to use an open-source platform as a means to create a sustainable, knowledge-sharing ecosystem




Project Management

This WP will carry out all the needed activities for the smooth and efficient implementation of the project in terms of administrative, financial, and quality assessment duties both for the communication with EC and among the partners.





Research within SPADE will comply with the highest ethical standards. All project partners will perform their activities in adherence to the fundamental ethical principles of Horizon Europe and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union




The SPADE consortium combines multidisciplinary competences and resources from the industry, academia and research community. It consists of 21 partners representing universities, research institutes, SMEs, highly recognised consulting companies and 2 cooperatives, while the 3 pilot installations in 3 different EU countries will serve as means of verification of SPADE technologies through integration in real use cases in the EU further complemented by the open call through which it is planned to deploy 12 more use cases. The project achieves a wide European geographical coverage since it incorporates entities from 10 European countries, i.e. Greece, Norway, Spain, Denmark, Germany, France, Portugal, Finland, Slovakia and the UK. This multinational cooperation is essential in order to provide significant high impact of using multipurpose drones for governance applications. Thus, the SPADE project brings together a team of experienced partners dedicated to contributing, each in their area of expertise, to the successful implementation of the project objectives.

CERTH (Coordinator)

The Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH), founded in 2000, is a leading Research Centre in Greece and in the EU. It is a legal entity governed by private law with non-profit status, supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation (GSRI) of the Greek Ministry of Development & Investments.

CERTH combines its unique research facilities and high qualified research personnel, to transform scientific knowledge into innovative technological applications, aiming to strength the national economy and respond to the needs of society at national and international level.

CERTH is essentially a self-supported Research Centre generating an average annual turnover of ~ € 40 Million (average of the last three years) coming from: bilateral industrial research contracts at 14%, competitive research projects at 74% and government institutional funding at 12%. It is one of the top research and development employers for highly qualified personnel in the region of Northern Greece, as more than 1100 people work at CERTH with the majority being engineers and scientists.

Due to the preceding extensive experience, CERTH is SPADE’s project coordinator and will, as such, play a key role in in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) implementation in the SPADE platform.



HAFEN is developing components for new, climate-friendly transport and energy solutions for hubs in order to contribute to the Paris agreement to reduce emissions from transport by 40%.

HAFEN builds on their experience by providing valuable additions to the SPADE team, namely in regards to the investigation of the risks and impact of drones as multi-purpose vehicles in the “Farm-to-work” ecosystems.



NST (Nydor System Technologies AE) is an Information & Communication Technologies SME established in 2011. NST is experienced in wireless sensor networks, the internet of things, cloud computing, monitoring and security technologies. The company as of 2016 has a new Management Board that established partnerships with niche regional Markets in the region of Greece, Cyprus, Serbia and the Western Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean countries aiming at the Levantine, Gulf Middle East regions. NST has further established partnerships at National level with key researchers and managers holding large & long experience in Security Technologies especially in the areas of ‘Graph Based Social Networks’ Analytics’, ‘Multimodal Technologies’ and ‘Machine Learning’. This has also been proved in various successful European research activities that NST key management, research engineers and personnel have participated and in several cases coordinated.

Building on its experience working several types of technologies, NST will have an important role in SPADE by being the Greek livestock farming pilot coordinator.


University of Southern Denmark

The University of Southern Denmark welcomed the first students onto the campus in Odense in September 1966, and things have been developing by leaps and bounds ever since. We now have five faculties with more than 27,000 students, almost 20% of whom are from abroad, and more than 3,800 employees distributed across our main campus in Odense and regional campuses in Slagelse, Kolding, Esbjerg and Sønderborg. Several international studies document that we conduct world-class research and are one of the top fifty young universities in the world.

Over the years, the University of Southern Denmark has interwoven many lives. The roughly five years which a student invests in a university education will lay the groundwork for the rest of his or her life. And with around 115 different study programmes in the fields of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering, graduates of the University of Southern Denmark are now members of virtually every profession in the international community.

SDU builds on its experience on innovative techniques by being responsible for SPADE’s drones development and testing.



The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft based in Germany is the world’s leading applied research organization. Prioritizing key future-relevant technologies and commercializing its findings in business and industry, it plays a major role in the innovation process. A trailblazer and trendsetter in innovative developments and research excellence, it is helping shape our society and our future. Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 76 institutes and research units throughout Germany. Over 30,000 employees, predominantly scientists and engineers, work with an annual research budget of €2.9 billion. Fraunhofer generates €2.5 billion of this from contract research.

Fraunhofer’s research expertise comes as a great asset to SPADE. It is mainly applied toeards Advanced sensors, AI-based visual analysis and edge computing for drones.



Gradiant’s mission can be summed up as “contributing to the innovative dynamism, growth and competitive improvement of the Galician business ecosystem through technology development and innovation in the use of ICT”.

Its philosophy is to help companies generate business. They integrate the transfer of knowledge and design specialized solutions for the industry, adding the added value of the Center’s professionals. Gradiant is the key ICT partner for companies to generate profits, innovating and designing “à la carte” products for each client.

They have positioned themselves as a benchmark digital innovation agent in the Galician R&D System. We are an economically sustainable Technological Center, with an international vocation and projection and with a highly qualified professional team. Within this framework, the commitment to a culture of collaboration to join forces and seek synergies with other organizations. Their activity is R&D&i, always focused on improving the competitiveness of the industry and generating value for its clients and for the innovative Galician ecosystem.

Gradiant builds on its experience by bringing digital twin development to SPADE.


Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação

Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI) is a consulting firm established in 1996, with a deep knowledge of the private and public sectors, as well as the processes that allow its clients to foster innovation, be competitive and generate growth. The Group includes SPI, SPI Azores, SPI China, SPI Spain, SPI USA, SPI Ventures, Turivã, Herdade da Torre Vã and an affiliate office in Brussels, through a partnership with the European Business & Innovation Network (EBN).

SPI position as an innovation facilitator, namely the one that results from strong science and technology contributions and a close connection to the dynamics of development, allows the company to intervene at a global level, reinforcing the network of contacts and creating organizational value. With worldwide interests, SPI continues to expand and diversify its international presence.

SPI’s strong links with companies, business associations, cluster, universities, research centres, municipalities, regional and central administrations and leading international organizations such as the European Commission, allow it to provide high value-added services in the areas of innovation.”

SPI’s expertise is a great addition to SPADE mainly in making the project relevant and replicable in European Rural Areas investigation and in dissemination and communication.


University of Oulu

The University of Oulu is an international science university that creates new knowledge, well-being and innovations for the future through research and education. The University of Oulu, founded in 1958, is one of the largest and most multidisciplinary universities in Finland.

In all its activities, the University of Oulu strives for excellent quality and high efficiency. Our researchers produce nearly 3000 scientific publications each year, and several new research-driven startups arise yearly.

Feeding on its activities, UOULU brings governance links investigation to SPADE.


Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research

Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) is to contribute to food security and safety, sustainable resource management, innovation and value creation through research and knowledge production within food, forestry and other biobased industries.

NIBIO’s builds on its local expertise by being the Norwegian forestry pilot coordinator.




Norwegian University of Science and Technology

NTNU is a university with an international focus, with headquarters in Trondheim and campuses in Ålesund and Gjøvik.

NTNU has a main profile in science and technology, a variety of programmes of professional study, and great academic breadth that also includes the humanities, social sciences, economics, medicine, health sciences, educational science, architecture, entrepreneurship, art disciplines and artistic activities.

NTNU’s also utilizes its great local know-how and delivers inputs into Norwegian forestry pilot design, implementation and analysis.



Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is the largest university in Greece. The main campus is located in the centre of the city of Thessaloniki, and covers an area of about 33.4 hectares. It comprises 10 faculties which consist of 40 schools and 1 single-School Faculty.

Some educational and administrative facilities are located off campus for practical and operational reasons. A number of these facilities are located outside the city of Thessaloniki or even in other cities.

About 88.283 students study at the Aristotle University, 77.198 in undergraduate programmes and 6.588 in postgraduate programmes. There are also 3.952 at Doctoral level).

There are 1.682 faculty members. There are also 311 members of the Special Laboratory Teaching Personnel (S.L.T.P.).
Faculty members are also assisted by 144 members of the Special Technical Laboratory Personnel (S.T.L.P.).

The administration office consists of 278 permanent employees and 256 employees under a private law contract of indefinite duration.

Building on its local knowledge, AUTH will provide contributions towards Greek livestock farming pilot design, implementation and analysis.



Trialog is an independent company founded in 1987 and historically based in Paris, France. Its clients are large Industrial European companies.

The strategy of the Trialog company is to offer technological innovations to its customers. This offer is based on the integration of innovative technologies in industrial information systems, their validation, their interoperability, the platform of the Internet of Things and the key transversal technologies for the cyber security and privacy.

Trialog utilizes its technological innovation experience by bring digital twin and cyber-security to SPADE.


Eclipse Foundation

The Eclipse Foundation provides our global community of individuals and organizations with a mature, scalable, and business-friendly environment for open source software collaboration and innovation.

Due to its great knowledge of open-source software, the Eclipse Foundation is responsible for the coordination of SPADE’s open-source activities.





Sploro is a word in Esperanto that means exploration. We were born as a company with the idea of becoming true explorers of innovation. Our mission is as simple as ambitious, we want to make innovation understandable and reachable for any organization through services and digital technologies. Convinced the digitization will be the cornerstone building our society in the coming decades, SPLORO is a company with a vocation for service, but digital.

Through its digital technologies experience, Sploro provides open call design and implementation to SPADE.




Bavenir, s.r.o. is spin-off SME based in Bratislava, Slovakia disposing with senior personnel with proven experience in field of project management (including research projects), solution/enterprise architecture, strategic consulting and software implementation. bAvenir was founded as manifestation of founder’s endeavour to transfer their skills and experience to the market via tangible cutting edge innovations.

The principal focus of the company is bringing to the market innovative solution with high usability in the field of internet of things, electronic law and security. bAvenir also provides professional services of project management, architecture consultancy and software development with special focus on quality assurance and recovery actions. By experience, bAvenir understands that technology should serve people and thus the solution has to be more than technical excellence – it has to be user focused. Following this philosophy, bAvenir provides its services and innovates its products features.

SPADE’s platform interoperability and APIs are the responsibility of BAVENIR.



farmB Digital Agriculture S.A. company was founded with a vision to close the gap between technological research and everyday practices in the agricultural sector.

farmB offers technological solutions for all types of agri-businesses (from producers to consultants and processors) and focuses on the development IoT and AI applications for the holistic assessment of the information collected in field from sensors, drones, electronic pest traps, meteorological stations, agricultural vehicles and more.

Αs a spin-off company of the Institute for Bio-economy and Agri-technology (IBO) of the Centre for Research and Technology – Hellas (CERTH), incorporates deep scientific knowledge into its operations, while promoting the integration of sustainability and circularity into the agricultural practice.

Due to its extensive experience working on agriculture, farmB will prove the development of the SPADE toolkit and also work as an open field agriculture domain expert.



Aarhus University

Established in 1928, Aarhus University has since developed into a major Danish university with a strong international reputation across the entire research spectrum.
Considering its tremendous reputation on research, Aarhus University will provide socio-economic and environmental evaluation to SPADE.



University of Lincoln

Situated in the heart of a beautiful and historic city, we are placed among the top 30 universities in the UK for student satisfaction in the Guardian University Guide 2023.

Employers are increasingly looking for individuals who can make a difference in today’s global workplace. With expert staff, modern facilities, close links with business, and world-leading research it aims to provide all the tools that one could need.

Due to its experts having experience on multiple relevant fields to SPADE, University of Lincoln ultimately works under data trust and trust frameworks.





AnySolution is an innovative and dynamic SME based in Palma de Mallorca, which develops methodologies and strategic projects in the fields of R+D+I, Tourism, Smart Cities, Smart Mobility, Smart Destinations and Emergencies, among others. The AnySolution company has 2 main departments that work together to develop highly innovative projects based on the latest technologies: – European projects and strategy, from which all the processing of different financing lines is carried out both locally and internationally. In addition to carrying out studies and analysis mainly in the areas of SmartCities and SMartDestinations – Engineering, where a group of highly qualified professionals are carrying out developments based on the latest technologies: IoT, BigData and Artificial Intelligence, where we can highlight as products: – IoTSmartLock: intelligent access control device that connects to all devices in a building offering multiple applications – IoT platform, NADIA, initially used for intelligent building management and which is evolving as an AnySolution city platform obtained the seal of INNOVATIVE SME by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. AnySolution coordinates the Smart Cities Working Group of the Es.Internet technology platform and is a member of the executive committee and holds the Vice Presidency of the PLANETIC technology platform. It also participates in the ThinkTur, SmartLivingPLat,NEM.

Considering its experience on Spanish landscape, AnySolution is the coordinator of the Spanish open-field pilot.






MNP is an agricultural transformation company (SAT) established in Sa Pobla (Mallorca) in 1993.

MNP’s vision, as an agrarian society, bases its action on a personalized service to our farming partners. It is oriented towards marketing, with long-term objectives, our main activity being the production and marketing of quality potatoes, with high added value for specific market segments.

Due to its relevant local knowledge, MNP brings end-user and farming advisor for the Spanish pilot.


Sant Bartomeu de Sóller Agricultural Cooperative

The Sant Bartomeu de Sóller Agricultural Cooperative has its origins in 1899. It currently has more than 350 members, who work to ensure that the founding objectives are carried out:
• Get a good price for local producers so they can take care of their farms and preserve the landscape of orchards and olive groves.
• Promote the marketing of fresh and seasonal products.
• Help preserve the landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana and its traditions, declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2011.

Having a strong presence throughout the Spanish territory, CDS builds on this by providing end-user and farming advisor for the Spanish pilot.


Early adopters‘ Forum

One of the specific objectives of SPADE (SO3) is to “Develop an open-source, open-access ecosystem which allows the collection, processing and distribution of data from and to multiple stakeholders”. To achieve this objective, the project must build an infrastructure that will promote open-source best practices such as transparency, openness, meritocracy and vendor neutrality. This approach will facilitate project interactions with its ecosystem that we hope will be numerous.

Indeed, to interact in such an ecosystem, where consumers are in direct relationship with developers, it is good to take inspiration from open-source communities. These communities use an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tool, such as GitLab, GitHub, or Tuleap, on the one hand, to support the development team in its daily work, and, on the other hand, to offer traceability on the project milestones, its tasks and the problems encountered. Indeed, such a tool offers transparency to understand the work in progress and support the interactions between the development team and its stakeholders.

Eclipse Foundation, partner of this project, hosts and manages the open-source code delivered by the SPADE project.


Open Calls

Open Calls will be published soon.

The calls will be open for two months after their publication. The presentation of the proposals will be done via SPLORO platform.

The consortium will provide the following services for the potential applicants:

  • email support for general questions
  • FAQ section on the project website and online webinars.

The process for applications evaluation will be based on a fourstep approach: eligibility, external evaluation, normalization scoring and consensus meeting. The external evaluators will adhere to Horizon Europe standards regarding evaluation, conflict of interest and confidentially They will be chosen via EoI (Expression of Interest) through the communication channels of SPADE and will not be linked to any of the partners in the consortium, be independent and will not be part of any of the proposing SMEs.