U-space is a set of new services relying on a high level of digitalization and automation of functions and specific procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for large numbers of drones. All content in relation to the U-space project is available on this page.
Two years after Amazon completed its first delivery by commercial drone, the idea of routinely using unmanned devices to drop off items at front doors remains a distant, if not far-fetched, dream. The recent shutdown of London’s Gatwick Airport, caused by sightings of drones near the runway, underscored the risks and complexities of the efforts.
But as e-commerce continues to grow, drones have the potential to reduce the time, cost and energy needed for many everyday deliveries — assuming they are managed well and used safely.
Before a commercial drone industry can thrive, particularly in the crowded urban areas of Europe, different kinds of drones must be able to fly along their delivery routes without crashing into one another — and under a standardized set of regulations, experts say — not unlike cars on the road.
The path to proving that drones can operate together and be tracked in crowded skies has brought a group of companies to a former military airfield outside Brussels, where they will test their unmanned aviation technology. The project, known as Safir, will help the European authorities devise a set of rules for the commercial use of drones.
Several Belgian cities take the lead in the use of drones in emergency situations by joining the Urban Air Mobility initiative of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-SCC), supported by the European Commission. Ghent and Brussels have already signed the Manifesto.
The drone industry is growing at a rapid pace, which means the safe integration of drones into airspace is of the utmost importance. Therefore SESAR, the mechanism which coordinates and concentrates all EU R&D activities in ATM, is making an effort to make this happen in a safe and efficient manner through the U-Space projects.
The drone industry has the potential to generate significant economic growth and societal value. The development and growth of the industry is heavily dependent on drones being able to fly safely in airspace areas.
To accomplish this, it is essential that drone operations and manned traffic can be managed in an efficient manner through management solutions such as UTM software for example.
The increasing presence of drones in airspaces means this brings an increase in security, safety and privacy concerns for authorities, but for the general public and businesses as well. Left unchecked, without proper legal and safety regulations, these concerns could turn into serious security, safety and privacy threats.