The SESAR Joint Undertaking (JU) has launched a series of projects as steps towards realising the European Commission’s U-space vision for ensuring safe and secure access to airspace for drones. A total of EUR 9 million is earmarked from the EU’s Horizon 2020 budget for the selected projects, which will run for a duration of two years.

The demand for drone services is steadily increasing, with the potential to generate significant economic growth and as well as societal benefits. However, the development of the drone industry is dependent on the ability of drones to operate in all areas of airspace, including at very low levels. Delivering solutions to support the management of drone operations and traffic are therefore key to unlocking this growth.

The projects are initial steps towards realising U-space, a vision blueprint for which was recently drafted by the SESAR JU. In this framework, the projects will address important research questions impacting the operation of drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) at very low levels, including beyond visual line of sight (B-VLOS) operations, as well as visual flight rules (VFR) environments.

Through these projects, the SESAR JU brings together established aviation stakeholders, academia and new entrants into the sector as well as stakeholders from other industries, such as those from the mobile communications industry. Together they will blend their expertise to perform extensive research and demonstrations on this exciting new area of air traffic management.

Project name



Participating organisations

Drone Critical Communications


The project aims to design a hybrid architecture that combines cellular and satellite networks. This solution would ensure reliable and safe operations for drones using U-space services.

Information Management Portal to Enable the inTegration of Unmanned Systems


The project explores how to take develop a cloud-based server-less environment that can respond to multiple users with diverse business models, including integration with manned traffic management systems.

DRone European AIM Study


The project is focused on solutions for the drone aeronautical information management. Operational and technical aspects, environmental scenarios, technologies, safety and security impact are analysed in order to identify possible U-space data service providers (e.g. airspace structure, terrain, obstacles and weather) and required facilities.

An Integrated Security Concept for Drone Operations


The project addresses resistance of drones against unlawful interference, protection of third parties and integration of geo-fencing technology. The project investigates technological options (navigation, surveillance, in-flight updates, etc.) for both airborne and ground elements, considering legal, regulatory and social aspects.

Technological European Research for RPAS in ATM


The project aims to define the performance requirements associated with U-space, and to identify the technologies (existing and new) which could meet these requirements. This encompasses interaction with manned aviation.

PercEvite - Sense and avoid technology for small drones


The project aims to develop a sensor, communication, and processing suite to increase the level of drone automation in the detection of cooperative and non-cooperative obstacles on ground and flying.

CLear Air Situation for uaS CLASS


This project is focused on the tracking and surveillance service of U-space. It explores the combination of technologies in a way that data coming from the surveillance of both cooperative and non-cooperative vehicles are merged to enable conflict detection & resolution and protection of restricted areas (such as airports).

Concept of Operations for EuRopean UTM Systems


The project aims to establish a concept of operations (CONOPs) for U-space. Especially the project explores nominal situations to address drone operations in the vicinity of airfields and controlled airspace and for transfer between controlled and non-controlled airspaces. The project identifies key issues for society and offering solutions to ease social acceptance, identify necessary technical developments, quantifying the level of safety and performance required.