SESAR takes next steps for the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft

Aug. 20, 2014

The surge of interest in recent years in the development of civil unmanned aircraft - otherwise known as civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) – has prompted plans by the SESAR Joint Undertaking to identify and detail the research and innovation activities needed to integrate these aircraft safely into civil airspace in the coming years.

End of 2013, the SJU was requested by the European Commission to initiate a “Definition Phase” to shape an R&D Programme on civil RPAS integration, for implementation as part of the SESAR 2020 Programme. The request was made within the context of the 2013 RPAS Roadmap, a document that spells out the regulatory, strategic and societal matters that need to be addressed and a step-by-step approach to address them.

Following an inconclusive procurement procedure earlier this year, the SJU will now directly undertake activities to further identify the detail R&D tasks that need to be performed with an objective to start Research and Innovation activities in 2015 as part of the SESAR 2020 Programme. This work will be performed in close coordination with industry, the European Commission and other relevant stakeholders.

With access to best minds in ATM and aviation, SJU is uniquely placed to coordinate and identify the research that will allow for the gradual and smooth integration of civil RPAS into European airspace,” says Florian Guillermet, Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking.