SESAR launches U-Space exploratory projects

The SESAR Joint Undertaking (JU) has launched a series of projects as steps towards realising the European Commission’s U-space vision for ensuring safe and secure access to airspace for drones. A total of €9 million is earmarked from the EU’s Horizon 2020 budget for the selected projects, which will run for a duration of two years.
The demand for drone services is steadily increasing, with the potential to generate significant economic growth and as well as societal benefits. However, the development of the drone industry is dependent on the ability of drones to operate in all areas of airspace, including at very low levels. Delivering solutions to support the management of drone operations and traffic are therefore key to unlocking this growth.
The projects are initial steps towards realising U-space, a vision blueprint for which was recently drafted by the SESAR JU. In this framework, the projects will address important research questions impacting the operation of drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) at very low levels, including beyond visual line of sight (B-VLOS) operations, as well as visual flight rules (VFR) environments.
Through these projects, the SESAR JU brings together established aviation stakeholders, academia and new entrants into the sector as well as stakeholders from other industries, such as those from the mobile communications industry. Together they will blend their expertise to perform extensive research and demonstrations on this exciting new area of air traffic management.