On April 22, 2021, the European Commission adopted the U-space package - three regulations that together create the conditions necessary for both drones and manned aircraft to operate safely in section of our airspace known as the U-space.
These regulations introduce new services for drone operators, allowing them to carry out more complex and longer-distance operations, particularly in congested, low-level airspace (below 120m), and when out of sight.
According to Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, “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. This has clear added value in terms of achieving our decarbonisation, digitalisation and resilience ambitions...”
The U-space is included in the ‘Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy’, unveiled in December 2020. The Strategy lays the foundations for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. The new regulations define the roles and responsibilities of the organisations involved in the definition of U-space, the provision of U-space services, and the minimum necessary services required for manned and unmanned aircraft to operate within the U-space.
For more information from the European Commission on U-space and drone use, see these FAQs.
CIVITAS projects that engage with sustainable air transport, or U-space, are HARMONY and the recently launched ASSURED-UAM project.
In the rural HARMONY project city, Trikala, drones are being used to transport medical supplies to remote areas that are not quickly accessible by surface vehicle.
The aim of ASSURED-UAM is to support aviation safety best practices, the inclusion of 'vertical modes of transport' at the policy-level and to be a direct response to the European Green Deal goals contributing to climate neutral urban transport in 2050.
For the full press release see here.