Eurocontrol leads U-ELCOME U-space research project to advance U1 and U2 U-space services

One of SESAR 3 JU’s flagship Digital Sky Demonstrators, the new U-space project U-space European COMmon dEpLoyment (U-ELCOME) has received funding from the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility. U-ELCOME is a 3-year project coordinated by the Eurocontrol Innovation hub and involving 51 partners.

U-ELCOME will be performing a series of tests and demonstrations in various operational environments across 15 locations in Spain, Italy and France. Its goal is to, in compliance with Regulation 2021/664 on a regulatory framework for the U-space and related amended 2017-373 and 923/2012 regulations, further the scalable market uptake of U1 and U2 U-space services – that’s foundation services covering e-registration, e-identification and geofencing (U1), and initial services for drone operations management, including flight planning, flight approval, tracking, and interfacing with conventional air traffic control (U2).

The demonstrations will address the interface with the ATM system to ensure safe and fair access to airspace for all airspace users, built around real-life use cases for both business and civil authority use, such as medicine and goods delivery, inspection flights and aerial missions in urban and sub-urban environments in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace.

The project builds on the outcomes of the previous SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking and Horizon2020 exploratory and industrial research projects and very large-scale demonstrations, creating a bridge from research, through industrialisation to implementation. It will also rely on real U-space systems, which are in operation or to be deployed by ENAIRE, ENAV, D-Flight and Thales during the execution of U-ELCOME .

U-ELCOME aims to set up, deploy and demonstrate up to Technology Readiness Level 8 several breakthrough U-space U1 and U2 solutions that will combine digital and physical infrastructure capabilities. This will enable investment to be accelerated and new solutions deployed.

To do so, U-ELCOME will use a scalable U-space architecture enabling information exchange and coordination among U-space Service Providers (USSPs) and the Common Information Service Provider (CISP), as well as between USSPs, CISP and ATM using interoperable standards. This will allow for automated drone traffic management and situational awareness among all U-space stakeholders.

The project, working in close cooperation with EASA and other international and national authorities and organisations, will also contribute to the consolidation of standardisation and regulatory requirements of the proposed U-space services to further accelerate their deployment along with the interoperability between U-space and ATM.

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