SESAR JU launched (16-Jun-2017) a "blueprint" for the EU's drone 'U-Space', which includes a four stage roll out plan. The four phase plan comprises adoption of "foundation" services by 2019, followed by initial services, enhanced services and full services. As previously reported by CAPA, the U-Space entails an EU wide framework for all individuals and businesses to operate drones up to an altitude of 150m, particularly in an urban context. SESAR JU stated:
- Registration of drones and drone operators, their e-identification and geo-fencing will be in place by 2019;
- Safety at low altitude levels is planned to "be just as good as that for traditional manned aviation", through development of an EU wide unmanned aircraft system (UAS) traffic management (UTM) platform;
- The system will provide information for highly automated or autonomous drones to fly safely and avoid obstacles or collisions.
EASA is working with Member States and industry to produce effective EU wide safety rules, which "are proportionate to the risk of the operation". EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc added: "We need the EU to be in the driving seat and have a safe drone services market up and running by 2019. The EU needs to take a leading role worldwide in developing the right framework for this market to flourish, by unleashing the benefits for key economic sectors". [more - original PR]