The European Commission has announced that the Single European Sky Air traffic management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking unveiled a blueprint to make drone use in low-level airspace safe, secure and environmentally friendly.
The Commission said in a statement that the U-Space covers altitudes of up to 150 metres and will pave the way for the development of a strong and dynamic European Union (EU) drone services market.
The plan outlines several basic principles, such as safety at low altitude levels will be just as good as that for traditional manned aviation, and the system will provide information for highly automated or autonomous drones to fly safely and avoidobstacles or collisions.
However, further U-Space services and their corresponding standards will need to be developed in the future, said the Commission.
The blueprint is part of the Commission’s drive to deliver on its ambitious Aviation Strategy, and to unleash the full economic potential of drones.
The European Aviation Safety Agency is currently working with member states and industry to produce effective EU-wide safety rules that are proportionate to the risk of the operation. The European Parliament and the Council of EU are expected to adopt these rules in the coming months, said the statement.
According to the Commission, the drone services market is expected to grow substantially. Current common European rules only cover drones weighing above 150 kilograms.
In December 2015, the Commission proposed to create an EU-wide framework for drones as part of its Aviation Strategy to deal with the problem of fragmentation of the EU internal market.
In November 2016, European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc announced the U-Space drone traffic management system initiative.