On October 19 in Antwerp, Belgium, E.U. Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc announced the European Network of U-space Demonstrations. The Network, which is a combined effort from European Commission (EC), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU), and EUROCONTROL, will provide a space for EU members to share best U-space practices in order to keep drone operations “safe, secure, and green.”

The Network will support various projects across multiple countries to demonstrate U-space services in a broad range of drone activities and test for their integration in the airspace alongside manned aviation. By de-risking implementations, accelerating the lead time to market for novel services and solutions, and providing a platform for regulators and public authorities, the network aims to establish an integrated European airspace system, attracting additional commercial drone businesses and investments.

AirMap has been selected as a UTM provider in four European U-space Demonstrator Projects: GOF USPACE in Finland and Estonia, DOMUS in Spain, VUTURA in the Netherlands, and GEOSAFE throughout France.

GOF USPACE: Finnish-Estonian “Gulf of Finland”
Estonian Air Navigation Services (EASA), ANS Finland, Frequentis, Volocopter and partners will work together internationally to test U-space capabilities in urban, maritime, forestry, and airport environments through both visual line of sight (VLOS) and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) missions such as international package delivery between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia; maritime traffic and emergency response search and rescue over Gulf of Finland; and unmanned urban aerial taxis between Helsinki-Vantaa airport and downtown Helsinki.

VUTURA (Validation of U-Space Tests in Urban and Rural Areas): Netherlands
VUTURA’s demonstrations will be conducted in rural, urban, and smart city environments using AirMap’s UTM to power commercial BVLOS operations in the Enschede region,starting with a rural “smart farming” scenario to test coordination and deconfliction of multiple drone flights within a common airspace across multiple U-space Service Providers (USPs). The project will also perform tests in urban areas, coordinating USPs in urban and smart city environments for medical parcel delivery between hospitals and business package delivery between businesses and airports.

GEOSAFE (Geofencing for Safe and Autonomous Flight in Europe): France
The GEOSAFE projects in Pourrières, Bordeaux, Montmagny and Valence, France aim to establish geofencing solutions around U-space regulation in order to propose and evaluate improvements and recommendations for future geofencing systems. The program will enable a number of commercially-available geofencing solutions to assess drone missions in different scenarios and carry out technical assessments of the navigation system’s geofencing performance. Thales Avionics, Aeromapper, and AirMarine are collaborators in this project.

DOMUS (Demonstration of Multiple U-space Suppliers): Andalucia, Spain
AirMap will provide UTM services to the DOMUS project in Andalucia, Spain which will test U-space suppliers working together, joined by an ecosystem manager, Enaire, and several drone operators, ATM stakeholders and mobile network operator, to fly drones for various use cases in rural, urban, maritime, and airport environments. Among the partners involved in this collaboration are everis, Indra, and Vodafone. The use cases will include: terrain, construction, road traffic, and maritime patrol and monitoring; medical and urgent parcel delivery; andoint surveys for 3D modelling and building inspections, among others.

Through these projects, the European Network of U-space Demonstrations will prove out technologies and applications that are compatible with the European U-space framework in order to establish U-space as a reliable and safe infrastructure. These newly announced projects build on the successful U-space demonstrations with Skyguide and FOCA in Switzerland in June 2018. Nationwide U-Space services for Switzerland will launch commercial in 2019. We look forward to bringing our expertise and learnings to help accelerate the progress of commercial drone operations across Europe.