U-Space services Implementation Monitoring Report
U-Space represents the European ecosystem of services and specific procedures designed to support safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for drones operations.
Projects aimed at both deployment and demonstration of U-Space-based concepts are currently in development all around Europe, confirming that U-Space technologies are getting sufficiently mature for allowing full-fledged commercial drone operations.
Following the launch of the EU Network of U-space Demonstrators by Commissioner Violeta Bulc on 19 October 2018, EUROCONTROL has recently hosted the first meeting of the Network members, addressing the challenges of deploying U-space services and how the Network can best support them.
EUROCONTROL, in partnership with EASA and SJU, supports the newly established Network to develop concrete material for U-space demonstration projects, aimed at providing guidance on where the regulatory bar for safe and secure operations would be set, allowing industry to further invest in testing the feasibility of their technological solutions and standards.
An Initial Implementation Survey was conducted by the EUROCONTROL PRM Unit in May 2018 in order to assess the level of maturity of the main elements underlying the provision of the services enabling Very Low Level (VLL) drone operations at European level.
In particular, States were invited to provide data on the state of progress on implementation of the U-Space services, as well as any short to medium term planning information concerning those not yet fully implemented.
Additional information regarding any active/planned demonstrations were also requested in order to develop a list of projects taking place within the EU U-Space Demonstrator network, including a brief description, start and finish dates, organisation(s) and location(s) involved, as well as funding sources.
The implementation data provided by many EU Member States were analysed in order to determine progress frequency distributions (i.e. summary of percentages) and provide a snapshot of the level of maturity of each U-Space service.
The results of the analysis are presented in the U-Space Services Implementation Monitoring Report, assessing the implementation progress of the main service elements in the 28 EU Member States.
This analysis will be updated regularly, as it will serve the monitoring of the U-Space concept implementation evolution. In addition, it will support the development of roadmaps and the governance of the EU Network of U-Space Demonstrators in order to comprehensively address a rapid deployment of U-space Services framework, reducing technological risk and increasing predictability for industry’s development and deployment activities.
A web-based, interactive implementation map tool has also been integrated in the European ATM Portal, offering a centralised and uniform interface to access U-Space services implementation and demonstration projects information.
The tool is meant to provide users with data maintenance, visualisation and reporting capabilities, in order to support the coordination of the EU Network of U-Space Demonstrators activities.
The implementation of the U-Space services will require to be further planned and monitored in the next years, in order to ensure the progressive accommodation and integration of UAS into the European ATM environment.
A number of stakeholders expressed the desire to have the U-Space implementation monitoring integrated into the ATM Master Plan Level 3 reporting framework, in order to optimise staff allocation and internal reporting procedures. Such a solution would in fact provide the opportunity to consolidate a coherent, all-encompassing approach to the European ATM planning and monitoring processes, methods, and tools.
In light of its 25 years of successful delivery, the ATM Master Plan Level 3 reporting mechanism is indeed recognised as a well-established and proven planning and monitoring tool, which might be easily adapted to meet U-Space services implementation planning and monitoring requirements.