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The project

The lack of harmonised standards is holding back the development of drone-related business, both at a global level and in Europe. Several studies and surveys (as for instance the European Drones Outlook Study, issued by SESAR) identify a reliable regulatory and standardisation framework as one of the main potential boosters for the drone business. Therefore, to foster the growth of a safe drone usage, there is a need to implement coherent and interoperable global standards for drones in the EU. The European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme funded AW-Drones to tackle this issue, and provide guidance for harmonisation of standards to support future EU drone regulation.


AW-Drones supports the rulemaking process for the definition of rules, technical standards and procedures for civilian drones to enable safe and reliable operations in the European Union. The project will achieve this target through 2 sub-goals:

Providing a repository of technical standards and “best practices” to the drone community.

The project will produce an Open Repository of existing standards and “best practices” to support the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Commission in their rulemaking process.

Proposing and validating with relevant stakeholders a set of technical standards to comply with existing regulation for drone operations.

AW-Drones will propose the most suitable technical standards for all relevant categories of drones operations.



January 2019: Start of the project Autumn 2019: "Drone operations in the Specific category" workshop December 2019: SORA - Drone operations in the specific category proposed standard Autumn 2020: "U-Space" workshop December 2020: U-Space - Unmanned traffic management proposed standard Summer 2021: "Autonomous UAS operations" workshop December 2021: Autonomous UAS operations proposed standard December 2021: Presentation of AW-Drones findings

AW-Drones has a duration of three years, starting January 2019 and ending December 2021.

During the first year, the project will focus on standards regarding the SORA methodology and drone operations in the Specific category. AW-Drones will hold a workshop on this subject during Autumn 2019, and propose a set of assessed standards in December 2019.

In 2020, the project will explore U-Space, with a dedicated workshop in Autumn, and propose standards for unmanned traffic management (UTM) in December 2020.

Finally, 2021 will be dedicated to autonomous UAS operations. Following a workshop during Summer, AW-Drones will present standards for these operations (if available) by December of the same year.


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