• Project duration 2018-06-01 > 2020-05-31
  • Cost
    • Total 1 455 768,75
    • EU Contr. 1 169 074,13
  • Status Closed

Addressing the safe integration of general aviation aircraft and drones in very low-level airspace

Maintaining the safety of air operations when drones and conventional aircraft share low-level airspace, close to an airport for example, will require a high degree of digitalisation and automation. The SAFEDRONE project sought to define and detail pre-flight services including electronic registration, electronic identification, planning and flight approval; as well as in-flight services such as geofencing, flight tracking, dynamic airspace information and automatic technologies to detect and avoid obstacles in order to demonstrate how to integrate manned aviation and drones into non- segregated airspace. The objective was to accumulate evidence and experience about the required services and procedures necessary to operate drones in a safe, efficient and secure way within U-space.

SAFEDRONE partners carried out demonstrations involving eight different aircraft types ranging from drones to fixed-wing and rotatory wing light aircraft, flying simultaneously in the same airspace. The flights were carried out in rural and semi-urban areas in southern Spain, recreating situations such as the delivery of medical supplies, aerial mapping and land surveying, and operating BVLOS. The project performed flight operations with initial and advanced U-space services, in addition to technologies required for full U-space services including autonomous detect and avoid capabilities and multi- drone operations by a single operator.

The project also considered increased levels of autonomy necessary to operate in non-segregated airspace to carry out dynamic in-flight activities such as on-board re-planning trajectories within the U-space approved flight plan, and autonomous generation of coordinated trajectories within an approved U-space area of operation. It assessed the viability of using 4G networks for communication during BVLOS flights and GNSS technologies enabled by Galileo to estimate the drone’s height.

Finally, the research included a pre-risk assessment scenario of the concept of operation based on the technical, safety and operational requirements as detailed in the SORA drone guidance material.

Lessons learned and results from the technologies tested have been passed to EASA and standardisation bodies EUROCAE and GUTMA to help develop the standards that will enable safe integration of different drone categories under U-space.


University of Seville

Latest news

  • 22.11.2020

    Integration of drones into airspace unlocks their potential

    In the future, drones are expected to achieve a very high level of autonomy, allowing them to become ‘aerial robots’ that can perform unsupervised tasks automatically. However, for this to become a reality, drones must be able to recognise their environment and react to unforeseen situations.

    Cordis - Results in Brief 


    U-space demonstrations

    1st of June
    11th of December, 2019
    all over Europe
  • This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 783211

    European Union