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SAFIR to demonstrate U-space drone in Belgium

(Posted on 01/11/18)

The SAFIR consortium, a group of 13 public and private organisations, has been selected by Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) to demonstrate integrated Drone Traffic Management for a broad range of drone operations in Belgium. The goal of the SAFIR project is to contribute to the EU regulatory process for drones and drive forward the deployment of interoperable, harmonised and standardised drone services across Europe.

The SAFIR consortium (Safe and Flexible Integration of Initial U-space Services in a Real Environment) consists of the following organisations: Unifly, Amazon Prime Air, Belgocontrol, DronePort, Proximus, the Port of Antwerp, Helicus, SABCA, Elia, High Eye, C-Astral, Tekever and Aveillant.
 
The objective of the demonstration is to help SESAR JU, the entity responsible for coordinating all EU research and development activity in Air Traffic Management, contribute to the European Commission’s U-space vision of ensuring safe and secure access to airspace for drones.

U-space is an enabling framework that will evolve over time to facilitate access to all classes of airspace and operating environments – to include congested airspace – while addressing an appropriate interface with manned aviation and air traffic control.  When fully deployed, a wide range of drone missions that are currently being restricted will be possible thanks to a sustainable and robust European ecosystem that is globally interoperable. The timing for U-space is critical given the speed at which the market is growing. The aim is to have foundation U-space services in place by 2019.
 
SAFIR will carry out multiple studies and demonstrations for drone operations that are viable, robust and ready-to-implement throughout Europe. These demonstrations will include surveillance flights (including container terminal inspection, oil spill inspection) in the Port of Antwerp, parcel delivery, medical inter-hospital transport, high voltage line mapping and pylon inspection. Further the use of telecommunication network technology for data communication with both manned aircraft and other unmanned aircraft will be assessed. Finally, a radar system will be deployed capable of monitoring cooperative and non-cooperative drones.

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