On 19 October 2018 the European Commission launched the European network for drone demonstration projects.

The Commission’s initiative follows the commitments taken under the Drones Helsinki Declaration of 22 November 2017, that aims at opening the EU drones services market by 2019 by working on three pillars: (i) the legal requirements for drones and drone operations; (ii) further investment in demonstrators that systematically help to open the drone services market, as well as in longer term R&D projects; (iii) an effective standard setting process that is adapted to fast evolving digital technologies from all sectors.

The network will focus on the development of the so-called U-Space, a system that connects all drones flying in the air and that makes all drones visible for authorities and citizens. Large-scale demonstrations are key to build further confidence in safe drone operations and the U-space concept and they are an opportunity to involve innovative actors including SMEs and new entrants, attracting investments to support U-Space projects. Moreover, a support cell to the network has been created, in order to bundle the regulatory and safety competence of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the R&D management expertise of the SESAR Joint Undertaking (Single European Sky ATM Research, which coordinates and concentrates all EU research and development activities in air traffic management) and the technical and operational air traffic management expertise of EUROCONTROL.

The network will focus specifically on projects with a clear business case that build on mature technologies, but need some further operational and regulatory demonstrations before starting commercial operations.

Further information is available at the following LINK.