EU announces acceleration of digital airspace management investment and research

The adoption of a Drone Strategy 2.0 in the fourth quarter of 2022 to identify how drones can exploit digitalisation and automation to offer new sustainable transport services (while also taking account of possible civil-military synergies at the technology level) and the launch of a Common European Mobility data space (MDS) – to facilitate access to and the pooling and sharing of mobility and transport data by bringing existing frameworks together and subsequently advancing on harmonisation and cross-sector interoperability – are two key components the European Commission’s DG Move 2022 Management plan, published on 14 March 2022.

As part of the DG MOVE – Management plan 2022: Mobility and Transport strategy the Commission will start implementing, monitoring and overseeing the renewed Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) project: the new SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking, the new SESAR Deployment Manager, Common Project One and the updated SESAR Deployment Programme. U-space is a key research area for SESAR programmes.

The new strategy also sees an enhanced role for the Network Manager, The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and EUROCAE in progressing technologies from research into implementation.

“They are renewed mechanisms, which will be supported by a stronger involvement of European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Network Manager and the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE), and will federate and focus operational stakeholders’ efforts,” according to the strategy. “They will direct investment on developing and deploying in good time the mature ATM technologies that constitute the digital European sky,” according to the new strategy text.

“The Commission will use the Horizon Europe programme and the Connecting Europe Facility to focus Union financial support on the digital transition of European ATM.

“DG MOVE will present a proposal on Multimodal digital mobility services (MDMS). This will seek to establish a clear EU framework for the deployment of mobility services within and across modes. The aim is to improve significantly the inclusiveness and sustainability of multimodality. It will reflect market and technology developments and changes in horizontal legislation…

“In 2022, the Connecting Europe Facility will also facilitate transition to a sustainable transport sector by supporting digital components for all transport modes. Through increased efficiency, improved interoperability and enhanced safety this will help modernise the TEN-T network. Co-funded projects resulting from the first CEF 2021-2027 transport calls for proposals are expected to be signed for more than 500 million euro. Their focus should be on European Railway Traffic Management (ERTMS), Intelligent Transport Services (ITS), and Air Traffic Management (ATM) solutions under SESAR.

“2022 will be the first year of operation for the new Horizon Europe Partnerships. These will make a major contribution to the digital transition. New research and innovation Work Programmes and Calls will be launched by the Joint Undertaking on Single Europe Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR). They will address digital technologies that modernise Europe’s air traffic management infrastructure….With a budget of 1.6 billion euro, Sesar 3 Joint Undertaking will strengthen and integrate the Union’s research and innovation capacity in the air traffic management (ATM) sector, making it more resilient and scalable to fluctuations in traffic while enabling the seamless operation of all aircraft. As a novelty it will also strengthen, through innovation, the competitiveness of manned and unmanned air transport in the Union, and ATM services’ markets to support economic growth in the Union. The work of the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking will directly support the achievements of the “European Green Deal“ and “Europe fit for the digital age” objectives.

“As required by the European Green Deal, DG MOVE will start implementing the actions identified in the new European urban mobility framework. It will publish a Recommendation to Member States to support regions and cities in the roll-out of effective sustainable urban mobility plans. This will involve an improved set of sustainable urban mobility indicators and a reformed expert group on urban mobility matters. It will organise the European Mobility Week and the conference “Urban Mobility Days”.

DG MOVE – Management plan 2022: Mobility and Transport strategy: A smart and innovative transport sector that makes the most of digitalisation and automation, supported by adequate funding. Related to spending programme(s): Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe

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