What is U-space?
Last Friday we celebrated 1 year of U-space at SkeyDrone. Since one year, EU Member States can identify U-space airspace areas where drones may fly increasingly complex operations – beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) – supported by air traffic services provided by certified U-space service providers (USSP). U-space airspaces will be created in areas of high traffic, with multiple drone operations creating a risk of collision.
To BVLOS or not to BVLOS?
Currently, no U-space airspaces have been installed so far in Europe. Consequently, BVLOS-based multiple drone operations are not allowed yet. However, BVLOS flights are authorised over the Port of Antwerp-Bruges area since March 2023, a first in Europe. SkeyDrone created a BVLOS Enablement Framework that enabled this. This framework has been recognized as a “safe to fly” risk-mitigating framework, paving the way for many other drone operators to conduct scalable BVLOS flights in congested airspaces and high-risk environments.
Is it a bird, is it a plane? It’s BURDI!
SkeyDrone’s BVLOS Enablement Framework was developed as a predecessor of U-space airspace under specific circumstances. Currently this Framework is being used at the Belgium-Netherlands U-space Reference Design Implementation (BURDI) project. This project aims to:
- implement a U-space airspace concept able to manage various, dense and complex UAS operations in controlled, uncontrolled and UAM environments
- make this implementation a reference to develop best practices, standardisation, harmonisation and/or interoperability requirements fostering operational deployment of U-space airspaces in Europe
- ensure that solutions to be deployed are economically sustainable and socially acceptable/supported for the benefit of the general public
Within BURDI, the consortium is diligently navigating all the necessary steps, aiming for the actual implementation of the first U-space airspace in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges later this year. This will be an important milestone, bringing us closer to SkeyDrone’s vision of creating a future where drones have seamless access to airspace and will bring significant contributions to the economy and our society at large. Cheers to that!