EU Launches Connected Drone Network


EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc has launched a European network for drone demonstration projects, in order to share knowledge on how to keep drone operations safe, secure and green.

The forum will focus on the “U-space”, a system that connects all drones flying in the air and makes them visible to authorities and citizens.

Bulc said: “Drones are a key part of the future of aviation and will become part of our daily lives.

“All players can mutually learn from practical expertise on how we can keep drone traffic safe, secure and green in the public space. That exactly is the purpose of this EU wide network.”



Recently, APM Terminals began using drones at its facilities in San Antonio, Texas and Santiago, Chile to improve operational efficiency and safety.

According to a statement by the Port of Antwerp, which is participating in the European network, drone and U-space projects deliver “concrete results” on how to fly drones safely and make the developing U-space system more reliable.

Abu Dhabi Ports discusses the use of security drone cameras in a Port Technology technical paper

However, it is claimed that U-space projects are only sustainable if the proposed solutions are compatible with the European framework.

Erwin Verstraelen, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Antwerp Port Authority, said: “Innovation and digitization are crucial if our harbour is to stay sustainably competitive in the long term.

Erwin Verstraelen was a featured speaker at this year's Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies Conference: read our review of Day Two

“Drones will become indispensable in the near future, not least in our port, to support our role as operator and regulator. Furthermore, in our role of community builder, we facilitate the use of drones as much as possible for all stakeholders.

“Given the particular nature of our port, this has to be done in a safe manner. Through our participation in this network, we are confirming our pioneering role and ambition to be an open and innovative hub that institutionalizes new technologies.”

The network, a cooperation of the European Aviation Safety Agency, SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) and EUROCONTROL, will focus specifically on projects that build on mature technologies, but need some further operational and regulatory demonstrations before starting commercial operations.

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