European aviation authorities say they are developing plans intended to ensure that drone use in low-level airspace is safe, secure and environmentally friendly.
Plans developed by the Single European Sky Air traffic management Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR-JU) call for creation of a “U-Space” from the surface to 150 m (492 ft) for the operation of drones (also known by a number of other terms including unmanned aircraft systems), the European Commission (EC) said Friday.
The system will include basic services such as registration, e-identification and geofencing and is expected to be in place by 2019, the EC said, adding that the system will provide information for highly automated — or autonomous — drones to operate safely and avoid collisions.
“Drones mean innovation, new services for citizens, new business models and a huge potential for economic growth,” said Violeta Bulc, the European Union (EU) commissioner for transport. “We need the EU to be in the driving seat and have a safe drone services market up and running by 2019.”
The European Aviation Safety Agency already has begun working with its member states and the aviation industry to develop safety rules “proportionate to the risk of the operation,” the EC said, adding that, through SESAR-JU, it would finance a number of projects aimed at safely integrating drones into the airspace system.