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The project

The lack of clear 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 and regulations for drones in the EU. The European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme funded AW-Drones to tackle these issues and guide future EU drone regulation.

Objectives

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

Providing a repository of “best practices” to support EASA’s regulatory process.

AW-Drones facilitates the on-going European Union regulatory process for the definition of rules, technical standards and procedures for drones. The project will make available an Open Repository of “best practices” to support the European Aviation Safety Agency’s and the European Commission’s rulemaking process.

Proposing and validating a well-reasoned set of technical standards for operations, appropriate for all relevant categories of drones.

AW-Drones will also contribute to the identification and validation of a well-reasoned set of technical standards for operations, appropriate for all categories of drones. These standards will be presented into an easy-to-navigate knowledge platform, open to all stakeholders.

Approach

AW-Drones contributes to the EU drone regulation and standards harmonisation. In order to do so, the project adopts a twofold approach: a top-down collection and assessment of rules, procedures and standards already developed worldwide, and a bottom-up consultation with key stakeholders and end-users to ensure that standards are adequate and as agreed upon as possible.

This double approach ensures that AW-Drones identifies and highlights obstacles that could be missed if considering only one source of information. This way, information collected from published material integrates expertise from the stakeholders group, and knowledge of on-going activities is complemented with the full picture about future developments. AW-Drones then performs a critical assessment of all collected data to identify a thorough set of best practices, gaps and bottlenecks, as complete as possible.

Collecting technical rules, procedures and standards already developed for the commercial use of drones worldwide.

AW-Drones will identify, select and review technical standards, focusing on how they are covering all required areas, how they are integrated and enforced in local rules and procedures, and to what extent they are validated and widely accepted. Primary sources of information will be the activities carried out worldwide by major standard making bodies (e.g. EUROCAE, RTCA, ISO, ASD-STAN…).

Committing with key stakeholders and end-users to ensure that standards are adequate and as agreed upon as possible.

AW-Drones will organise a series of workshops with drone sector experts, including manufacturers, regulators, operators, researchers, and standard making bodies. They will look at the project results to assess if the current available standards, rules and procedures are failing to ensure safety of drone operations.

Workplan

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