May 29, 2020

Modernising the Sky: U-space and the future of drones in Europe

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)’s recently published draft opinion on the future of U-space in Europe embodies a foundational principle of the aviation industry: the sky is a shared resource that, when overseen safely and fairly, promises profound benefit to all. The EASA framework offers a path for Europe’s aviation infrastructure to leverage new technologies and make air transport smarter, safer, and universally accessible.

While we do see opportunities to work with the European Commission and Member States to continue refining the draft--including opportunities to enhance automation and improve interoperability among U-space stakeholders--the proposal itself represents a significant step for the advancement of unmanned aircraft systems.

We support EASA’s efforts to enable a new, complementary traffic management ecosystem that works with the current ATM framework to support diverse unmanned aircraft.

Digital and distributed architecture: a distributed system of U-space service providers (USSP) improves reliability, drives automation, and ensures the system can scale with the growth of drone operations.

Competitive marketplace: an ecosystem of multiple and diverse USSPs can develop innovative capabilities that meet the needs of diverse drone operators and support future applications for unmanned aviation.

European harmonization: a consistent approach to U-space across Europe ensures a reliable framework for operators to access the skies and a safer European airspace for manned and unmanned pilots alike.