In the last three years, the AW-Drones project contributed to the harmonisation of the EU drone regulations. In particular, it supported the European Union rulemaking process for the definition of rules, technical standards, and procedures for civilian drones to enable safe and reliable operations in the EU Open and Specific categories.
What challenges is the drone sector facing in Europe? And how may the development and adoption of adequate industry standards contribute to the safe integration of drones in aviation? In order to answer these questions, AW-Drones held its final public event, online, on the 7th of December 2021.
The main scope of this final event was for representatives of AW-Drones to highlight the role that the project had in supporting the establishment of a safe and sustainable framework for drone operations in the European Union.
In addition, the project invited representatives of EASA, ICAO, IATA and EUROCONTROL to provide a brief overview of the current and future challenges for the aviation world, including the disruptive innovation brought by drones and Urban Air Mobility.
Damiano Taurino (Deep Blue), Project Coordinator, opened the meeting by welcoming all participants. Then, the AW-Drones Project Officer Vladimir Cid-Bourié (CINEA/EC) introduced CINEA and its extensive portfolio of R&I activities in Aviation; he focused, in particular, on the R&I Drones portfolio. Later, Christos Petrou (FSF/MED), Project Partner, addressed the participants to highlight how drones constitute a major challenge to aviation safety; he also stressed how coordinated efforts are needed to all aviation stakeholders to adopt common standards and regulations as regards the use of drones. Finally, Marco Ducci (Deep Blue), AW-Drones Deputy Coordinator, provided an overview of the project; this brief highlight of its objectives, scope, approach, and outcomes concluded the introductory session.
After that, the guest speakers’ session began. First, Natale di Rubbo (EASA) illustrated the European Aviation Safety Agency’s plans for UAS rulemaking and U-Space. Later, Sven Halle (ΙCAO) presented the UAS related activities that ICAO is implementing. Stefano Prola (IATA) joined to discuss IATA’s approach to Urban Air Mobility and the integration with commercial aviation. Finally, Giancarlo Ferrara and Munish Khurana (EUROCONTROL) presented the role of EUROCONTROL in the definition of U-space services for the UAS/UAM airspace integration.
After a quick break, Sebastian Cain (DLR) and Tom van Birgelen (NLR) opened the session dedicated to AW-Drones; they illustrated the project data collection process and methodology. Matteo Natale (EuroUSC-Italia) focused in details on the presentation of the project outcomes; Peter van Blyenburgh, (Blyenburgh & Co.) discussed instead the results of two AW-Drones surveys exploring the operator’s perspective of drones. To conclude the event, Damiano Taurino showcased the Drone Standards Information Portal and presented future actions following the project closure.
More than 150 participants attended, including regulators, representative of standard making bodies, drone manufacturers and operators, U-Space and UAS related service providers, and researchers and members of academia.
Video recording of the event
- Welcome & Introduction – Damiano Taurino (Deep Blue, Project Coordinator) and Christos Petrou (FSF/MED, Project Partner)
- Drones in Aviation at CINEA – Vladimir Cid-Bourié (CINEA/EC, Project Officer)
- AW-Drones overview – Marco Ducci (Deep Blue, AW-Drones Deputy Coordinator)
- Plans for UAS rulemaking and U-Space – Natale di Rubbo (EASA)
- ICAO UAS related activities – Sven Halle (ΙCAO)
- Urban Air Mobility and the integration with commercial aviation – Stefano Prola (IATA)
- U-space services for the UAS/UAM airspace integration: EUROCONTROL Role – Giancarlo Ferrara, Munish Khurana (EUROCONTROL)
- AW-Drones data collection and methodology – Sebastian Cain (DLR, Project Partner)
- AW-Drones methodology – Tom van Birgelen (NLR, Project Partner)
- Project outcomes – Matteo Natale (EuroUSC-Italia, Project Partner)
- AW-Drones survey results: the operator’s perspective of drones – Peter van Blyenburgh (Blyenburgh & Co., Project Partner)
- Drone Standards Information Portal and future actions – Damiano Taurino (Deep Blue, Project Coordinator)
Other supporting materials
- AW-Drones project: general poster
- AW-Drones project: outcomes poster
- Drones Standards Information Portal: an Open Repository (alias “metastandard”) of the knowledge the project collected
- AW-Drones survey on the operator’s perspective of SORA: conclusions
- AW-Drones survey on the operator’s perception of U-space: conclusions