Amsterdam – 28 November 2018
The below is a declaration made by EASA at the close of the Amsterdam Drone Week High Level Conference. It provides an indication of activity and focus in Europe.
The conference welcomed:
- the widespread efforts made since the High Level Drone Conference in Helsinki to open the drone services market in line with the Aviation Strategy for Europe adopted in 2015.
- the creation of a new field of competences regarding unmanned aircraft regardless of mass at the European Union level as established by the new Basic Regulation.
- the effort performed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Commission with extensive support from Member States and stakeholders to translate the new risk-based approach into detailed rules concerning drone operations;
- the funding of the first U-space projects by the SESAR Joint Undertaking;
- the increased engagement of cities and local communities in the Urban Air Mobility Initiative of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-SCC).
- the successful creation by the Commission with the support of EUROCONTROL, EASA and the SESAR Joint Undertaking of the European U-space Demonstrator Network, connecting various U-space and urban air mobility projects.
- Push towards integrated smart mobility and fair access to all dimensions of public space
Recognised the societal need and imperative to move towards smarter, safer and greener mobility on the ground and in the air to improve the quality of life.
Noted the emergence of new technological and business models featuring, for example, flying cars or drones flying at very low levels that impose a rethink of the boundaries and interfaces of urban and public space as they are expanding to the 3rd dimension.
Called upon urban transport actors, policy makers and associations to pioneer cases demonstrating which systems, solutions and services seamlessly integrate smart multimodal solutions.
Invited cities and regions, also within the Smart Cities initiative, to co-create with the citizens the public conditions and the infrastructure for integrated air and ground smart mobility solutions to flourish, where new and clean technologies, big data, real-time information and corresponding business models converge towards the enablement and realisation of “mobility as a service”.
- Enhancing the drone services market
Recalled that drone and U-space technologies form an integral part of smart mobility.
Called for the timely adoption of the implementing rules on drones as a first step to open the drone services market.
Called upon the European drone industry to seize this opportunity and further develop the drone services market, also by delivering the appropriate standards, to remain competitive at a global level.
Urged more steps to be taken to allow safe large-scale commercial operations in an automated way over longer distances, in so-called Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).
- Timely delivery of the U-space regulatory framework
Recognised that the safe scaling-up of commercial drone operations relies on the provision of U-space services and the automation, for example, of the flight authorisation process by competent authorities.
Invited the European Commission and EASA, with the support of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and EUROCONTROL, and in close cooperation with Member States, to develop, as a matter of urgency, an institutional, regulatory and architectural framework for a competitive U-space services market.
Considered that this framework should enable competent authorities to set performance requirements, including environmental objectives, needed to satisfy local airspace considerations and establish an open system that lays the foundation for innovative U-space services.
- Focus on local needs and initiatives
Welcomed the first U-space demonstrations that have already taken place under the umbrella of the European U-space Demonstrator Network.
Called for all relevant projects to join this Network to share knowledge and to give feedback, based on their practical expertise of demonstrators, as the regulatory framework and standards are developed.
Recalled that such demonstrators should cover all aspects of drone operations and be developed in close collaboration with local authorities, including in the context of the European Innovation Partnership – Smart Cities & Communities projects.
Recalled that public trust is crucial for developing the EU drone services market and that effective testing and deployment in “real-life” locations and scenarios should take account of societal expectations.
Stressed the need for targeted communication strategies to reach out to all drone users and make them aware of the opportunities and limitations of drone operations to respect other people’s safety, security, privacy and environment.
- Driving and prioritising R&D drone projects
Welcomed the publication by the SESAR Joint Undertaking of a roadmap to ensure safe and secure integration of drones in all classes of airspace, as an input to the update of the European Air Traffic Management Master Plan and the prioritisation of R&D activities.
Welcomed the launch of a second batch of European wide U-space demonstration projects funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking.
Welcomed the interest for drone demonstration projects within the Urban Air Mobility Initiative (UAM) of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-SCC), supported by the European Commission, and the willingness of European Smart Cities to collaborate with the European U-space Demonstrator Network.
Called for the necessary research and innovation activities to be undertaken, supported by appropriate funding, to accelerate drone technology in areas like autonomy and artificial intelligence, also for the full validation of U-space in view of the essential modernisation of Europe’s air traffic management system for which U-space could be a forerunner.
The conference recognised the good progress made in establishing a common European drone services market. The European institutions and industry are urged to continue their work.
In particular, the conference urges that priority be given to:
- Providing support to Member States in the implementation of the European drone regulations;
- Developing, in close cooperation with Member States and all stakeholders, an institutional framework for a competitive U-space services market and how drones need to be operated in the Single European Sky;
- Developing European product standards for drones and of other standards to meet the European performance requirements taking into account the global dimension;
- Supporting cities in their efforts to provide a fertile ground for innovative multimodal solutions integrating the 3rd dimension into their urban planning processes;
- Developing communication and promotion material for information campaigns to all drone users and other actors involved in drone operations such as local authorities;
- Further enhancing the European U-space Demonstrator Network to speed up the opening of the drone services network;
- Investing in the necessary research and development activities that are a key enabler for the growth of safe, secure and green drone operations in Europe.
 Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2018.