Special report: Europe’s EUR4 billion UTM development and standards programme

The European Union’s (EU) UAS traffic management (UTM) programme will deliver around EUR123 billion in benefits, cost EUR 4.095 billion to create and take until 2035 before all services can be accommodated, according to the latest forecasts from the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (SJU).

In a paper “High Level roadmap to integrate all categories of drones in Europe” presented at the annual High Level Conference on Drones hosted by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Helsinki between 21 and 22 November, Florian Guillermet, Executive Director of the SJU outlined the need for the European drone industry to act quickly.

The SJU high-level European UTM roadmap has been developed in parallel with the work to integrate remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) into civil airspace; RPAS integration work will cost EUR 0.05 billion to complete and deliver benefits of EUR16.8 billion, according to SJU forecasts.

The high level European UTM roadmap

Timescale UTM services RPAS integration
2019 plus U1 UTM Foundation services

• e‐registration

• e‐identification

• geofencing

RPAS 1 – IFR in classes A-C
2022 plus U2 UTM Initial services

• flight planning

• flight approval

• tracking

• airspace dynamic information

• procedural interface with ATC

RPAS 2 – IFR in classes A-G
2027 plus U3 UTM Advanced/enhanced services

• capacity management

• assistance for conflict detection

2030 plus RPAS 3 – IFR and VFR in classes A-G
2035 plus U4 UTM Full services

• additional new services and integrated interfaces with manned aviation

The European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc speaking at the event, announced that the SJU will be imminently launching a call for U-Space demonstration projects worth EUR 9.5 million.  This call for tenders will aim to cover a number of large-scale demonstrations to demonstrate U1 and U2 services and support the development of requirements and standards.

The immediate SESAR JU UTM research programme

Category Programme type Programme description
U1 Demonstrator A EUR0.5 million demonstration geofencing project to be awarded at the start of 2018
U1 Roll-out Roll-out of U-Space foundation services from the start of 2019
U2 Demonstrator A very large EUR1.4 million project from the start of 2018
U2 Demonstrator 10 projects of EUR10 million in total last 18 months to be launched mid-2018
U3/U4 Exploratory 9 projects worth EUR9 million, over 24-36 months – on-going

At the same time EUROCAE announced its timetable for UTM regulations and standards, to which the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) would now work towards.

Christian Schleifer-Heingärtner, Secretary General of EUROCAE said 110 organisations and 240 individual experts had signed up to support six focus areas and develop standards in the areas of

* Command, control and communication including security aspects (C3&S),

* Detect and avoid (DAA),

* Enhanced RPAS automation (ERA, including autotaxi, ATOL and emergency recovery),

* UAS Traffic Management (UTM, including geo-fencing and identification),

* Design & airworthiness standards (D&AW)

* Specific operational risk assessment (SORA), remote pilot stations (RPS, on ATM interface aspects).

The European UAS Standards Coordination Group (EUSCG) is where European regulators and standard developing organisations (SDOs) coordinate UAS related activities across Europe. The EUSCG published preliminary version of the Rolling Development Plan (RDP) (see below) immediately before the Helsinki event.

Rolling Development Plan (RDP) – Key deadlines for delivering UTM regulations

Domains Content of regulations Target date for regulatory material publication
Local identification An electronic identification system shall provide in real time the following information through electronic data, which is compliant with standards acceptable to the Agency: (a) the UAS operator and UA registration; (b) the UAS class; (c) the type of the UAS operation; (d) the status of the UAS geofencing function; and (e) the geographical position of the UA and its altitude above ground level. December 2018
Marking UAS operator shall display the registration information on the UA. December 2018
Registration Registration (a) Except when already registered in accordance with the specific-category requirements, UAS operators shall register themselves and the UA, pursuant to Article 3 of this Regulation, in a manner and format established by the Agency. (b) By way of derogation from point (a), UAS operators shall not register themselves and the UA when that UA has an MTOM, including payload, of less than 250 g. (c) UAS operators shall update their registration every time data is changed December 2018
Geofencing Member States shall publish the information on prohibited or restricted airspace and/or designated special zones for UAS operations, as well as on the required authorisations, in a manner and format established by the Agency.

For certain classes of UAS a geofencing system should include the following functionalities and performance characteristics so as to provide:

(a) an interface to update data containing information on airspace limitations and requirements, as well as to ensure the integrity and validity of this data; (b) information about the airspace limitations and requirements where the UA operates, as well as the position and movement of the UA relative to those limitations; and (c) information on the status of the system as well as on the validity of its position or navigation data. If the UA has a functionality that limits its access to certain airspace areas or volumes, this functionality shall be used in a manner that it interacts smoothly with the flight control without adversely affecting flight safety. In addition, sufficient information shall be provided to the remote pilot when the UA approaches areas with airspace limitations or when the geofencing system engages with the UA flight control system.

December 2018
Detect and avoid SORA Step#9 Tactical Mitigation September 2018
Detect and avoid DAA against conflicting traffic for RPAS operating under IFR and VFR in all airspace classes September 2018
Detect and avoid DAA in VLL September 2018
Emergency recovery For certain classes of UAS in case of loss of data link, have a reliable and predictable method for the UA to recover or terminate the flight in a way that reduces the effect on third parties in the air or on the ground; December 2018
Airworthiness Be designed and manufactured to fly safely; December 2018
Airworthiness RPAS System Safety Assessment Criteria 2019
Airworthiness Remote Pilot Station (RPS) 2019
Airworthiness Height limitation: for certain classes of UAS to have a maximum altitude performance limited to 120 m or be equipped with a system limiting the height above the ground or above the take-off point to a value selectable by the remote pilot; in the latter case, clear information about the UA height from the ground during flight shall be provided to the remote pilot; for other classes of UAS to be designed to be operated below 50 m or have an active system limiting the attainable height of the UA to a maximum of 50 m above take-off level. December 2018
Airworthiness If equipped with a follow-me mode, when this function is on, keep a distance not exceeding 50 m from the remote pilot, and allow the remote pilot to regain control of the UA or to activate an emergency procedure that terminates the flight December 2018
Airworthiness Drone injury protection for CO class, propeller injury protection for C0 class, information to the remote pilot of battery status, mechanical strength, lights to ensure controllability, Reduction of energy transferred to human body at impact, Evaluation of the energy transferred to human body at impact, follow-me mode, maximum voltage, December 2018
Remote pilot competence By a remote pilot having demonstrated the basic competence defined by the Agency to fly the UAS, by successfully completing online training as well as an online test provided by the competent authority and demonstrating the competences in a manner and format established by the Agency. December 2018
Environmental Noise level; manuals to be placed on the market with clear operational instructions and warnings highlighting the risks related to UAS operations, which shall be adapted to the age of the user; December 2018

The Helsinki Declaration, announced at the end of the conference, “Noted with concern a growing fragmentation along national boundaries of the EU drone services market, also due to security considerations, indicating the urgent need for close cooperation between European and national authorities….Confirmed the need for national and European regulators to establish the conditions for successful demonstrators; welcomed the opportunities to digitize procedures as much as possible, to ensure transparency and reduce administrative burdens for both authorities and operators, and to support the decarbonisation of transport e.g., by insisting on zero emission drones in the U-Space.”


Helsinki Declaration


Rolling Development plan


SJU presentation


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