On April 22, the EC adopted the U-Space package – three regulations that oversee drone integration and manned aircraft activity in U-Space. Together with last December’s “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy“, this milestone achievement will pave the way for safe integration of drones and UAS in urban airspace, and even BVLOS operations.
Drone integration pivotal for future transportation
The U-Space package is just one of the many initiatives the European Union has undertaken towards drone integration. In December 2020, EASA published the full regulatory framework setting the parameters for drone services, which regulates parcel delivery in urban areas, among others. The harmonisation of different aircrafts in U-Space is crucial to operate safely, as it creates parameters for drone risk mitigation. Announcing the release of the U-Space package, EC Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean stated:
“Drones are a clear part of the future transport and logistics landscape. There is vast potential when it comes to new cargo and delivery services, as well as other innovative applications, including drone flights with passengers on board in the future.”
The future shape of drone integration
The adoption of the U-Space package gives framework to drone operativity in urban airspace. Nonetheless, there are several steps to take before complete RPAS integration in civil air space. The U-Space package is a product of years of strategic planning. In 2015, the EU called for the development of a basic legal framework for safe drone operations. With today’s adoption of the regulatory framework for U-space, the Commission finally fulfilled the objectives set in 2015.
EASA is preparing the technical specifications crucial to allow both the industry and competent authorities to prepare for implementation. Drone integration is a fundamental step towards the green and digital revolution, making Europe more resilient and sustainable than before.