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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.

Objectives

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.

Approach

In order to propose best practices and standards, AW-Drones 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 to fulfill regulatory requirements.

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 focus on how the standards are covering all the operational requirements, how local rules and procedures integrate and enforce the European regulation, and to what extent they are validated and accepted. A strong link will be established with the major standard making bodies (e.g. EUROCAE, RTCA, ASTM, 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 consult with drone sector experts, including manufacturers, regulators, operators, researchers, and standard making bodies. They will look at the project results to support the harmonisation of standards, rules and procedures.

In order to propose best practices and standards, AW-Drones 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 to fulfill regulatory requirements.

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 focus on how the standards are covering all the operational requirements, how local rules and procedures integrate and enforce the European regulation, and to what extent they are validated and accepted. A strong link will be established with the major standard making bodies (e.g. EUROCAE, RTCA, ASTM, 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 consult with drone sector experts, including manufacturers, regulators, operators, researchers, and standard making bodies. They will look at the project results to support the harmonisation of standards, rules and procedures.

Workplan

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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