(A.) Policy and legislation
(A.1) Policy objectives
Drones are a promising source of innovative services for the society, from safer infrastructure inspections to more efficient transport and mobility solutions. Drones also offer an opportunity to green aviation and optimise deliveries. The aim of the Commission is to promote a transport system that is accessible, affordable, efficient, safe, secure and environmentally friendly and to create the conditions for a competitive industry generating growth and jobs. This is why, in perspective of the foreseen increase in drone traffic in Europe, the Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport is addressing the safe operations and management of drone traffic in the wider context of aviation safety.
U-space is a set of new services relying on a high level of digitalisation and automation of functions and specific procedures, supported by AI, designed to provide safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for large numbers of unmanned aircraft, operating automatically and beyond visual line of sight. This initiative confirms the EU’s ambition to develop sustainable and digital mobility solutions..
(A.2) EC perspective and progress report
The impact of the digitalisation cannot be underestimated. Aviation moves from a human-centric system - where safety ultimately depends on pilots and air traffic controllers – towards an information-centric system, where highly automated aircraft can fly safely based on information flowing on mobile telecommunication networks.
As the aviation and mobile telecommunication worlds converge, the need for ICT standard will increase in aviation. This is particularly observable in the field of drones and unmanned aircraft traffic management solution, which are a laboratory for digital aviation solutions.
U-Space is such an unmanned aircraft traffic management solution which will allow the scaling up of the volume of drone operations that are complex, in environments that are challenging. This would include transport and mobility applications in urban environments, or close to airports.
On the basis of the Opinion 01/2020 published by EASA on a high-level regulatory framework for the U-space, the Commission has adopted three Implementing Regulations on a regulatory framework for the U-space. They cover the roles and responsibilities of the organisations involved in the definition of U-space airspace, the provision of U-space airspace services, including common information, and the minimum necessary services that need to be provided for unmanned aircraft in order to operate in the U-space airspace, the roles and responsibilities of Air Traffic Service Providers for the dynamic reconfiguration of airspace and the electronic conspicuity of manned aviation when entering a U-space airspace in non-controlled airspace.
For what standardisation concerns, the European Commission established the European UAS Standardisation Coordination Group (EUSCG), a joint coordination and advisory group coordinating the drone-related, including U-space, standardisation activities across Europe, and essentially stemming from the EU regulations and EASA rulemaking initiatives. The EUSCG is supported by the work of the AW-Drones Horizon 2020 project, which is developing an open repository of unmanned aircraft standards and validating the suitability of technical standards to comply with existing regulation for drone operations.
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/664 of 22 April 2021 on a regulatory framework for the U-space
- U-space Blueprint, SESAR Joint Undertaking, SESAR Joint Undertaking, 2017, ISBN: 978-92-9216-087-6.
- DRONES AMSTERDAM DECLARATION, Amsterdam - 28 November 2018.
- EASA Opinion 01/2020 on a High-level regulatory framework for the U-space, 13 March 2020.
- EUSCG Rolling Development Plan – continuously maintained (www.euscg.eu).
- AW-Drones – ongoing (www.aw-drones.eu).
(B.) Requested actions
Action 1 Based on the U-space regulatory framework, and in coordination with the European UAS Standardisation Coordination Group (EUSCG), standardise semantic and technical interoperability specifications to exchange U-space information and operational data:
- between air navigation service providers, common information service providers and U-space service providers; and
- between U-space service providers and UAS operators.
Action 2 The following complementary actions could be developed in addition to the standardisation action:
- Development of a reference implementation of U-space software components to facilitate the adoption of U-space.
- Development of a testing platform to assess whether the U-space interfaces developed by service providers comply with the standardised specifications.
(C.) Activities and additional information
(C.1) Related standardisation activities
CEN/TC 377 ‘Air Traffic Management’ has concentrated in the past on the introduction and update of EN 16495 “Air Traffic Management - Information security for organisations supporting civil aviation operations”. The standard represents a variant of the transversal ISO 27002 security standard. It adds a concept of evidence-based trust in the implementation of the security measures of the different stakeholders involved in air traffic management.
While U-Space represents a new discipline of airspace user management adding new “players” and thus new complexities, from a security point of view the fundamental approach of EN 16495 can be applied also with u-space regarding the integration of conventional ATM and U-Space management.
IEEE has many efforts underway to develop standards for drones and UASs (Unmanned Aerial Systems):
The Standards Committee: PE/T&D – ‘Power and Energy/Transmission and Distribution’ published a Guide for ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Based Patrol Inspection System for Transmission Lines’ (IEEE 2821-2020:https://standards.ieee.org/standard/2821-2020.html)
The ‘COM/AccessCore – Communication/Access and Core Networks’ Standards Committee published a Standard for ‘Interface Requirements and Performance Characteristics of Payload Devices in Drones’ (IEEE 1937.1-2020,https://standards.ieee.org/standard/1937_1-2020.html)
More standardisation projects are in the drafting stage and several proposals have been approved:
Standards Committee: COM/AccessCore-SC - Access and Core Networks:
Standards Committee: COM/AccessCore-SC - Access and Core Networks,
Co-Standards Committee: AES/UAS/UAV/SC, SASB/SCC42:
Standards Committee: COM/MobiNet-SC - Mobile Communication Networks Standards Committee:
Standards Committee: IM/RNIS - TC45 - Radiation and Nuclear Instrumentation and Systems:
Standards Committee: Communications Society/Access and Core Networks:
IEEE P1937.6 Standard for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Remote Sensing Operation
IEEE P1937.7 Standard for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Polarimetric Remote Sensing Method for Earth Observation Applications
IEEE P1937.8 Standard for Functional and Interface Requirements for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Cellular Communication Terminals
IEEE P1937.9 Requirements for External Power and Power Management Interfaces for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Standards Committee: Communications Society/Mobile Communication Networks:
IEEE P1954 Standard for Self-Organizing Spectrum-Agile Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Communications
Other activities include e.g. the 2022 IEEE Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Competitionhttps://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/events/uav-2022
ISO/TC 020/SC 016, Unmanned aircraft systems, includes work on UAS Traffic Management (WG4).
ISO/TR 23629-1:2020, UAS traffic management (UTM) — Part 1: Survey results on UTM
WG4 is working on:
ISO/WD 23629-5, UAS traffic management (UTM) — Part 5: UTM functional structure
ISO/CD 23629-7, UAS traffic management (UTM) — Part 7: Data model for spatial data
ISO/WD 23629-12, UAS traffic management (UTM) — Part 12: Requirements for UTM services and service providers
EUROCAE WG-105, Unmanned aircraft systems, includes work on UAS Traffic Management (SG3)
WG-105 WG3 published:
ED-269 - Minimum Operational Performance Standard for UAS Geo-Fencing
ASTM committee FC38, Unmanned aircraft systems, includes work on UAS Traffic Management (in subcommittee FC38.02, Flight Operations).
ASTM F3411 – 19, Standard Specification for Remote ID and Tracking
FC38.02 is working on:
WK63418, New Specification for Service provided under UAS Traffic Management (UTM)