SAFIR-Med research summarised in April 2023 newsletter detailing BVLOS flights and conclusions

SESAR SAFIR-Med project has concluded 28 months’ research, including BVLOS demonstration flights above populated area, and activation of the article 13 transferring operational authorisations obtained in the operator country to other EU member states.

Research results are summarised in the project’s eight newsletter, available here.

The project addressed Safe and Flexible Integration of Advanced U-Space Services Focusing on Medical Air Mobility (SAFIR-Med).

Among recent demonstrations, the project successfully concluded the integration of multiple simultaneous uncrewed aircraft missions during demonstrations in Antwerp, Belgium, and the MAHHL region (German, Dutch, Belgian cross border region around the cities of Maastricht, Aachen, Hasselt, Heerlen, Liège). The project, backed by SESAR Joint Undertaking and EASA, sought to showcase U-Space, a set of services aimed at enabling seamless integration of automated uncrewed aircraft missions, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) backed by a European legal framework.

To project consortium decided to use new European drone law as soon as it was implemented end of December 2020 and immediately started the authorization request process. With demonstration flights scheduled throughout 2022, the project team worked tirelessly to secure necessary permissions from regulatory bodies in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.

SAFIR-MED carried out a two-pronged approach to de-risking, focusing on both operational and U-Space aspects. This involved extensive training, hardware-in-the-loop flights, and practicing simultaneous control of multiple drones. In March 2022, full hardware-in-the-loop operational de-risking flights were carried-out at DronePort, Belgium to test the coordination of multiple uncrewed aircraft in the air simultaneously.

SAFIR-MED highlighted the importance of minimizing human involvement, automating flight authorization processes, and reducing the learning curve for crews. As the project showcased, seamless integration and collaboration between manned and unmanned aviation is key to the future development of the drone sector.

The project exposed the need for further development of U-Space regulations, standards, and interoperability. The successful exchange of information between different U-space actors using the Helicus C2C system, the Unifly UTM system powering SkeyDrone and Droniq, Involi and Droniq live traffic, demonstrates the potential for a more integrated ecosystem.

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