SAFIR research programme demonstrates integrated drone traffic management

Belgium air navigation service provider (ANSP) skeyes reports that the U-space SAFIR consortium, a group of 13 public and private organisations, has hosted an open day at DronePort, Sint-Truiden, successfully showcasing integrated drone traffic management for a broad range of drone operations. European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc came to see the progress made.

“To safely integrate drones into the airspace, the U-space SAFIR consortium is working to demonstrate how technology is supporting the safe deployment of a multitude of drones in a challenging airspace environment,” said skeyes in a press statement. “Three U-space service providers (USSP) and one air navigation service provider (ANSP) have integrated their services to control the airspace collaboratively. Parcel delivery flights, aerial survey, medical inter-hospital flights and emergency prioritisation featured in the test scenario. The demonstration is among several demonstration projects taking place within the framework of SESAR Joint Undertaking – the entity responsible for coordinating all EU research and development activity in air traffic management. Together these projects are supporting the European Commission’s U-space vision of ensuring safe and secure integration of drones into European airspace.

Johan Decuyper, CEO skeyes, said: “Our participation in U-space projects such as SAFIR serves a twofold objective: firstly, it allows us – in our current role as an Air Navigation Service Provider – to gradually develop and demonstrate how manned and unmanned air traffic can safely operate in the same airspace environment. Secondly, it gives us the opportunity to explore and start building new business activities in the domain of unmanned aviation in accordance with safety of air traffic, our main priority.

SAFIR stands for Safe and Flexible Integration of Initial U-space Services in a Real Environment. Led by Unifly, the SAFIR consortium consists of the following organisations: Amazon Prime Air, Aveillant, C-Astral, DronePort, Elia, Explicit, Helicus, the Port of Antwerp, Proximus, SABCA, skeyes and Tekever. The consortium is co-funded by the SESAR JU within the framework of the EU’s Connected Europe Facility.

(Image: Skeyes)

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