SESAR stakeholders make progress on U-space concept of operations

CORUS (Concept of Operation for EuRopean UTM Systems), is a project, funded within the context of SESAR Joint Undertaking and the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. Its aim is to develop a concept of operations for U-Space to manage drones in European very low level (VLL) airspace. To kick-start this process, the project organized a workshop that took place between January 23 – 24, 2018 in Spain.

Starting from the U-Space Blueprint, the project will produce detailed definitions of the services necessary for VLL drone operations over the next two years. An initial architecture description will also be proposed. The services will be defined in a way that shows how they can and should be used together to enable safe drone operations while balancing the needs of the drone sector with those of society as a whole. The workshop seeks to build a consensus and draw on information and experiences already available.

Hosted by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, the workshop explored the most relevant use cases for drone operations and identified a set of supporting services for the U-space drone management system for Europe. The workshop was attended by around 90 experts from the drone and manned aviation community of stakeholders, with representatives from drone operators, airspace users, manufacturers, research centres and universities, authorities, associations, air navigation service providers (ANSPs), airports and insurance companies.

The workshop successfully collected material that will constitute the basis of the next five months of work of the CORUS consortium, with the aim of publishing a first version of the in June 2018. The CONOPS will be produced under the guidance of an Advisory Board, and will be coordinated with other ongoing “sibling” technical projects. A further workshop is planned to validate the concept (January 2019), followed by a dissemination event (August 2019).

At the workshop, groups of participants attended proceedings of several thematic stands addressing different aspects of the drone concept. The discussions covered the definition of the VLL airspace and operations in different environments, ranging from scarcely populated areas to urban environments, also addressing specific operations in airports. Aspects related to societal acceptance and the institutional framework, legal elements, architecture, solutions and the CONOPS were also explored.

The CORUS project involves nine partner organisations; DFS, DLR, DSNA, ENAV, EUROCONTROL (leading), HEMAV, NATS, Unifly and UPC. It is guided by an Advisory Board of 22 members, and a growing ‘U-space Community Network’ of stakeholders. The project also communicates and cooperates with other drone-related projects looking at specific technologies.