Drones are a growing business in Europe, delivering services in all environments, including urban areas.
Mapping, infrastructure inspections, precision agriculture, delivery of goods and e-commerce are just some of the
services possible using drones. A clear framework at EU level would allow the creation of a truly European market for drone services and aircraft, thereby harnessing potential for jobs and growth creation in this new sector of the economy.
U-space is a set of new services relying on a high level of digitalisation and automation of functions and specific procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for large numbers of drones. As such, U-space is an enabling framework designed to facilitate any kind of routine mission, in all classes of airspace and all types of environment - even the most congested - while addressing an appropriate interface with manned aviation and air traffic control. In support of this initiative, in 2017 the SESAR Joint Undertaking drafted the U-space blueprint, a vision of how to make U-space operationally possible. The blueprint proposes the implementation of 4 sets of services to support the EU aviation strategy and regulatory framework on drones:
U1: U-space foundation services covering e-registration, e-identification and geofencing.
U2: U-space initial services for drone operations management, including flight planning, flight approval, tracking, and interfacing with conventional air traffic control.
U3: U-space advanced services supporting more complex operations in dense areas such as assistance for conflict detection and automated detect and avoid functionalities.
U4: U-space full services, offering very high levels of automation, connectivity and digitalisation for both the drone
and the U-space system.