SESAR Joint Undertaking unveils blueprint for safe use of drones in low-level airspace


The Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking has launched its blueprint for safe, secure and environment-friendly use of drones in low-level airspace.

The undertaking has unveiled the blueprint after receiving a request from the European Commission (EC).

Covering altitudes of up to 150m, the ‘U-Space’ will support the development of a strong European Union (EU) drone services market.

EC stated that basic services, such as registration of drones and drone operators, e-identification and geo-fencing, need to be prepared by 2019.

EU Transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “Drones mean innovation, new services for citizens, new business models and a huge potential for economic growth.

"Drones mean innovation, new services for citizens, new business models and a huge potential for economic growth."

“We need the EU to be in the driving seat and have a safe drone services market up and running by 2019. The EU needs to take a leading role worldwide in developing the right framework for this market to flourish, by unleashing the benefits for key economic sectors.”

As stated in the blueprint, the U-Space should ensure safety at low altitude levels to develop a system similar to that of air traffic management (ATM) for traditional manned aviation.

The system will offer information for highly automated or autonomous drones to fly safely and avoid obstacles or collisions.

Additional U-Space services and their corresponding standards are required to be developed in the future.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is working in collaboration with the member states and the industry in order to generate effective EU-wide safety rules that are proportionate to the risk of the operation.

Through the SESAR Joint Undertaking, the EC will finance a series of drone projects that focus on the integration of the unmanned aircraft into the aviation system.